Take a Best Friend’s Approach

colorful picture of and older woman and younger woman running toward each other

Treat individuals with dementia symptoms like we treat our best friends

colorful picture of and older woman and younger woman running toward each other

Friends know each other’s personality and history.

A best friend becomes the person’s memory, is sensitive to traditions, and respects the person’s personality, moods, and problem-solving style. Getting to know your best friend is key.

Friends do things together.

A best friend enjoys activities with the person with dementia, involves the person in activities and care, and initiates conversation.

Friends communicate.

A best friend listens skillfully, fills in the blanks, asks simple questions, and encourages participation in conversation. Meet the person where they are at with communicating and be patient as they attempt to communicate.

Friendship builds self-esteem.

A best friend provides compliments often, offers encouragement, and gives congratulations when the individual with dementia does something well.

Friends laugh together often.

A best friend tells jokes and funny stories. They are spontaneously fun, goofy, and use humor to elevate the mood during care. People with late state dementia may mirror your emotions and find joy in your laughter.

Friends are equals.

A best friend doesn’t talk down to people, doesn’t assume a supervisory role, and knows that learning is a two way street. They treat people with dignity and respect.

Friends work at their relationship.

A best friend is not overly sensitive, builds a trusting relationship, and shows affection often. Although the person with dementia may not remember your name, they may remember how you made them feel.