Entries by Laurie and Beth White and Spencer

Moving mom: Surviving the hardest day of your life

“The day I moved my mom was the hardest day of my life,” Harriet told us. She had been able to sustain her mother, who has dementia, in an independent apartment by spending increasing amounts of time with her and hiring help from a home care agency. However it was taking a toll on Harriet, […]

Visiting the dentist when your relative has memory loss

Memory loss and dementia can make dental care difficult. In the early stages of memory loss or dementia, most people continue to take care of their teeth and brush regularly. As dementia progresses, however, they may not remember to brush their teeth or recognize the importance of good oral hygiene. Eventually they may refuse to […]

When people can’t speak, behavior speaks for them

Behavior in people with dementia is a form of communication. When it’s no longer possible to express feelings through words, behavior speaks for them. As dementia progresses, your relative may be unable to find the right words to say what she wants to say or ask. She may lose her train of thought or withdraw […]

5 ways to care for a relative with memory loss at home

Caring for a relative with memory loss can be both challenging and rewarding. Relatives who stay home can live in a familiar environment while staying engaged in existing family and social networks. But providing 24-hour care can be exhausting, expensive, and sometimes impossible. How can you extend your relative’s ability to stay home—and your ability […]

Helping a relative with memory loss with bathing

Bathing is often the first personal care task that a person with memory loss needs help with. But helping a relative with memory loss to bathe can be touchy, difficult, and easily lead to aggressive, angry behavior. And why not, when someone needs help with a task he or she has done independently for decades? […]

Why we wrote “the red book”

Our “red book” on coping with behavior change in dementia was published in the early 1980s—a time when people who cared for someone with memory loss had few resources. Unfortunately, when these energetic, courageous and wise folks faced repetitive actions, agitation, incontinence, sleep problems, and other behavior changes in their relatives, the primary recommendation from […]

How can an ombudsman help my relative and our family?

An ombudsman promotes and protects the rights of residents of nursing homes, assisted living and small board and care homes. When a resident has Alzheimer’s or another type of memory loss or dementia, their focus is on keeping everyone safe. This is especially true when residents are experiencing behaviors that are challenging.  When a relative […]

9 signs it may be time to move your relative with memory loss

As people move through the stages of dementia, more dementia care is required. Some people in the early stages of memory loss recognize their need for more assistance with personal care and activities. However, many other people with memory problems don’t, because their insight into their own behavior and needs has been impaired due to […]

How to become a Dementia Behavior Detective, Part 2

In Part 1 of Becoming a Dementia Behavior Detective, we talked about how observing and logging challenging behaviors can help you discover the reason for distress in a relative with dementia—and then begin to figure out how to make changes that prevent or lessen a challenging behavior. This is a key concept of our book […]