Caregiver’s Tips: Caregiver approach makes a difference for elderly with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caregiver Approach Affects Behaviors of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease

When working with elderly with Alzheimer’s disease make sure that you are calm, not in a hurry and able to focus your attention on this individual. Remember that people with Alzheimer’s disease are very much in the moment. So for that moment they are not thinking of the future or the past and you need to be in the moment with them, for what ever task you are trying to accomplish.

Before you approach the elder, have a plan.


If you need supplies for your task have everything prepared.

Always approach a person from the front so that they can see you coming. This is especially true for a male caregiver and a male patient.

Position yourself on the level of the elder. If in a wheelchair squat a little to the side, in front of the person.

Never speak to the person from the back, above or the side of them.

Person’s with Alzheimer’s disease need to have a connection with you before you can interact with them.

SMILE – most important part of your approach.

Say the person’s first name or whatever name they are used to responding to.

Do not touch the person before they are aware of you and you have made that connection.

Establish a connection with the person before you attempt any type of care.

Remember people with Alzheimer’s disease are very sensitive to body language, tone of voice, negative gestures. If what you present to them is negative they will mirror the behavior they see and become negative as well.

Just as children are in the moment, much can be learned from working with a person with Alzheimer’s disease who is living in the moment. When you are in the moment you can experience and enjoy what is happening right now, without the stress of the future.

Safe Approaches for Caregivers when working with someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has Negative Behaviors

Over reactive responses of distress demonstrate the inability to understand, interpret or cope with a real or imagined situation. Identifying the cause that triggered the negative reaction as well developing safe approaches for this person is the key to success. When a behavior, that is triggered by a physical or psychosocial stimulus is anticipated, the use of a distraction can be put in place pro-actively. See Blogs “Communication”

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