Caregiver Tips: The senior’s name is so important, when working with the senior with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Use the name the senior responds to.

Everyone’s name is important to them. Many people have a special significance to their name. They were named after someone in the family, by someone usually their mother. This is the word that people respond to even very late in the disease process.

I remember a woman who had lost all of her words, was total care in all activities of daily living. And as I walked past her in the hall, all I said was “Gracie”, and her head turned towards me. She was at the end of her life and died soon afterwards but till the end she still responded to her name.

Make sure you are using the name that the person still responds to. When caregivers call everyone “Grandma” that person may have long forgotten that they are a grandma. And so much worse, if the caregiver doesn’t really know them and they never were a grandma – how confusing would that be. I have seen elderly women only respond to their maiden name and when living in a nursing home, the home had to use both maiden and married names to identify them.

Everyone deserves the dignity of being called by the right name; take the time to find out that name.

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