DON'T Explain

Counter intuitive but true.

The natural reaction of many caregivers is to try and explain to their loved one why they should or should not do something.  Sometimes we try and convince them it is for safety purpose, for their own good, or it is because we care about their wellbeing.  While all of these reasons may be true, the trouble is that explaining things to someone with moderate to late stage dementia often isn't helpful.  The care recipient no longer has the capacity to understand reasoning and sometimes an explanation can further confuse or frustrate the person.  Other helpful suggestions in this situation are to distract, divert or agree.

When we debuted the Caregivers Ballad to a group for the first time and asked the audience for feedback, one listener said, "I think there may be a typo with the line, 'I forget not to explain.'"  This listener thought we meant to say I forget to explain, and we discussed with her that the sentence was intended as such to remind the caregiver that explaining is not always helpful with someone living with dementia.