Relationship dynamics change when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. And it can be hard to find ways to communicate or connect. Here are some tips for dementia caregivers:

Find new ways to communicate. Communicating with someone who has dementia can be frustrating. Odds are you’ll have to do most of the talking, especially in the later stages of your loved one’s disease. Keep questions to a minimum, and stick to those with “yes” or “no” answers.

Be prepared to tell your loved one about your day or what your kids or grandkids have been doing. Or the new Kansas City restaurant you tried.

And don’t argue. You won’t win. If an argument seems imminent, change the subject.

Learn what not to say. Knowing what not to say to someone with dementia can be just as important as finding new communication strategies. For example, if your loved one is looking for a deceased relative, don’t remind him (or her) that person is dead. Just say something like, “She’s not here right now,” and change the subject.

Plan activities in which your loved one with dementia can participate. If your loved one is unable to participate in the usual family activities, find new things that you can all do together. Some examples may include looking at old photos, listening to music, baking cookies, or just taking a walk around your Kansas City neighborhood.

Maintain a positive attitude. Dementia can cause frustration for both you and the person who has dementia. Starting each day with a positive outlook can set the tone for the rest of the day.

Be flexible. Unfortunately, dementia is a progressive illness. So you’ll have to learn to adapt to new routines and activities as your loved one’s disease progresses. For example, you may need to replace “game night” with “movie night” when games become too difficult for the person with dementia.

Get help if you need it. Being a dementia caregiver is challenging, so it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Remember, you can’t be an effective caregiver if you don’t also take care of yourself. Enlisting the help of Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care can take some of the pressure off of you and allow you some much needed respite.

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You’ve probably heard the word care plan before, but you may or may not know exactly what it is or why someone with dementia might need one.

For a person with Alzheimer’s, or other form of dementia, the care plan is an outline of his or her daily routine, current needs, and medical status. It lets you, and everyone on your medical team, know who is responsible for what and when. Which is particularly important for people with dementia because their short-term memory has been compromised, and they’ll need a lot of help as the disease progresses.

Here are some tips for developing a dementia care plan:

Get organized.

Determine who all will have access to the plan and how it will be documented and shared. Assign roles for different aspects of care, including who is responsible for updating the care plan.

Create a daily schedule.

People with Alzheimer’s, or other form of dementia, tend to be more comfortable with a daily routine. So set scheduled times for things like meals, bathing and grooming, activities, quiet time, and a daily walk around your Kansas City neighborhood (and/or other forms of exercise).

Address current and potential upcoming issues.

Some things to consider include home safety, communication barriers, aggression, shared activities, medication management, transportation, financial resources, and sleep problems.

Note behavioral patterns.

To avoid potential behavioral problems, try to identify any triggers. For example, if your loved one gets agitated or aggressive, note things like the time of day, noise level, and/or medication changes.

Review and update, as needed.

Care plans need to evolve as dementia progresses. Periodically review the plan, and update as needed.

Get help

If you need help developing a care plan or implementing your plan of care, contact a Kansas City home health agency that specializes in dementia or Alzheimer’s.

For more information about THOUGHTFUL CARE services, or to view more topics in our Care Video Library, visit https://www.thoughtfulcare.com/care-videos.

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It’s hard to know how much time you’ll have to prepare for the future if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Disease progression can vary greatly from one person to the next. So for your peace of mind (or for the sake of a loved one who will be caring for you) there are some things that need to be discussed in advance. Here’s a checklist to help make sure you’re covered:

Determine what resources are available. Living with Alzheimer’s or being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is tough, so you’ll want to take advantage of the Kansas City Alzheimer’s resources that are available. Educational resources are particularly important; they can prepare you for meeting new challenges head on.

Evaluate lifestyle. Be aware of what you (or your loved one with dementia) do on a day-to-day basis. If you own a computer, make a list of passwords for future reference. Consider what else you might need to do that will help as the disease progresses.

Develop routines. It’s important for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia to have daily routines. A consistent routine will help with focus, decrease anxiety, and allow for some sense of independence. Create a family calendar and enlist volunteers to help with appointments.

Store all relevant care information in one place. Get a notebook to store all important information about your dementia care. Include all medical and legal contacts, family contact information, test results, a current medication list, a weekly appointment calendar, and anything else for which you might need easy access. This will also help as you make the transition to home care or long-term care.

Encourage healthy living. As you’re establishing a daily routine, make sure you include activities that encourage healthy living and eat healthy meals. If you don’t already have an exercise routine, consider enlisting family members for a 30-minute walk around your Kansas City neighborhood after dinner each night. If you live alone and don’t have relatives nearby, you might want to purchase a treadmill instead. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy.

Deal with financial and legal issues. You’ll want to make sure you (or your loved one with dementia) develop a living will and designate a healthcare power of attorney before the disease becomes too advanced. You’ll also want to designate a financial power of attorney and put alerts on credit cards to curb overspending.

Know where to go for help. While you’re still able, develop a plan for the future. Choose a Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care to help with bathing and grooming, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and cognitive exercises. If your plan is to eventually transition to long-term care, you’ll also want to tour facilities with experience in dementia and Alzheimer’s care.

For more information about THOUGHTFUL CARE services, or to view more topics in our Care Video Library, visit https://www.thoughtfulcare.com/care-videos.

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Being a caregiver of someone who requires 24/7 care is tough under any circumstances. Add in dealing with confusion, aggression, sundowning, wandering, and all the other behaviors that go along with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s not a wonder why as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you may be sleep deprived.

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Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a 24/7 job. It’s also both physically and emotionally demanding. So it’s no wonder that Alzheimer’s caregivers frequently find themselves stressed. And many caregivers end up neglecting their own health by not getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and down time. Here are some things you can do to manage Alzheimer’s caregiver stress:

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Repetitive behaviors (e.g., doing or saying the same thing over and over) are common in people who have Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. Some repetition can be attributed to short-term memory loss (i.e., the person simply can’t remember what he or she just did or said). Other causes may include anxiety, frustration, insecurity, or an attempt to communicate a specific need or thought.

Whatever the cause, repetition can be annoying and/or frustrating for Kansas City Alzheimer’s caregivers. Here are some things you can do that may stop repetitive behaviors:

  • Look for a cause. Is there a specific need that isn’t being met? Does the person with Alzheimer’s need to go to the bathroom? Is he or she in pain? Is there too much noise? Is the person trying to tell you something?
  • Stay calm. If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, you need to be a good listener. And it requires patience. Getting upset about repetitive behaviors is only going to aggravate the person more, which could exacerbate the repetitive behavior.
  • Be creative. One evening, my mom kept asking for my dad, who was in the room with her in their Kansas City home. She thought my dad was another guy she’d dated in college, and we didn’t know how to convince her otherwise. So he walked around the block. As he was coming back down the street, my brother-in-law looked out the window and said, “Here he comes now.” When my dad walked in the door, my mom scolded him for not telling her where he was going. He apologized, and that was that.
  • Use reminders. If the person who has Alzheimer’s repeatedly asks the same questions, write down the answers and put them where they can be easily seen.
  • Try distraction. If you can’t find the cause of the person’s repetitive behavior, try engaging him or her in another activity.
  • Answer questions. If the person who has dementia is repeatedly asking the same question, keep answering. But be mindful of the things you shouldn’t say to someone with Alzheimer’s.
  • Get help. If you need help with Alzheimer’s home care, or just need some temporary respite, you may want to enlist the help of a Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

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Communication is difficult for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. It’s also not easy for someone who doesn’t have Alzheimer’s to communicate with someone who does. Here are some tips that might help improve communication between people with dementia and their friends and family members and/or caregivers.

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