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How do I talk to someone with Alzheimer's who is out of touch with reality?

There has been a shift in the general philosophy of caring for people with dementia. In the past, the general consensus was that they should be continually oriented to reality. For instance, if a person talked about visiting a sister who had died, the caregiver would remind the person what year it was and that the relative wasn't alive. Experts recommended responses like "No, I'm not your daughter, I'm your nurse."

Experts now believe that these efforts are futile and only frustrate the individual. Today, the preferred approach is to validate the person's feelings. For instance, responses like "You must really love her" to a man who talks about his dead wife, rather than, "She died 10 years ago," foster emotional well-being. Repeated validation may also curb some behavior problems associated with frustration.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.