Teepa’s Tips for Saying “I’m Sorry” to a Person with Dementia — Even When You’re Not Wrong

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We all know saying “I’m sorry” is an important skill to have, but did you know it’s even more important when dealing with a dementia patient?

One of the reasons learning to apologize to a dementia patient is so important is because you may have to say it even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. The brain of a person with dementia is no longer nearly as flexible as it used to be; he or she may be unable to see your point of view, but you can still see theirs. Even if you had no intention of harming or angering this person—or if you don’t even know why they’re mad at you—you can still mend the relationship by apologizing.

Another reason it’s important to learn to apologize to a dementia patient is because you may have to go about it a little differently than you would with any other person. There are actually five different types of “I’m sorrys,” each of which appeals to a different need or desire the person has, that you’ll learn about in the video below. And you’ll have the best of instructors: the amazing Teepa Snow.

YouTube/Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care

Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a dementia care and education specialist with a background in occupational therapy and over 30 years of experience, which has taught her a lot about how people with dementia think and what can be done to help them cope with this horrible disease.

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care

In an effort to improve care and quality of life for dementia patients (and their caregivers), Teepa leads classes and seminars focused on difficult dementia-related situations. Her goal is to help caregivers understand the situation from a different perspective—the perspective of someone with dementia—and then give them tools to use in difficult everyday situations as a caretaker.

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care

In the video, Teepa will explain why something so small as apologizing the right way—even when you think you’re wrong—makes a huge difference for a person with dementia. Then she’ll demonstrate how to put each apology into action.

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care

Photo: YouTube/Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care

We’ll bet you’ve never heard it explained quite like this before! Teepa’s personality makes her lessons as entertaining as they are informative. Check it out!

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Teepa Snow Shares Tips for Dealing with a Dementia Patient Who Doesn’t Want to Take a Bath: Click “Next” below!

Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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