Alzheimer’s Do’s and Don’ts

Introduction from Lillie: This article by my associate, Beverly Ellison, is the follow-up to her post: The Gift: Becoming Primary Caregiver for Mom with Alzheimer’s .


It has taken me longer than I planned to get back with you to share my experience with the “Do’s and Don’ts” of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). To those of you whom I have not responded to yet, please know that I will.

One of the things I’ve learned is that life—as unpredictable as it is under normal circumstances—becomes even more unpredictable when we become caregivers. I have learned to live one day at a time, to take time whenever I can and to adjust to what each day brings. I make my plans, keeping in mind that they could change at a moment’s notice if my Mom has a need that has to be met.

Because her short-term memory is gone, Mom can no longer “plan ahead.” So when she or an assisted living staff member tells me she needs something, she needs it NOW. I can be on my way home, to Bible Study, or to meet a friend for dinner when I get the notice. This means that I will either be late, miss Bible Study, or reschedule my dinner plans (depending on the situation) in order to meet Mom’s need(s). I try to stay ahead of the game, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I’ve learned accept it and to live with it because I know it’s going to happen.

On to the “Do’s and Don’ts.” Bear in mind that there is no scientific approach to my list. Everything I am sharing with you was learned—sometimes painfully—by trial and error.

DO …


  pray for wisdom regarding your loved one’s care.

– make a decision before you pray about it.

 assure your loved one that you want to help them.

 make your loved one feel that s/he is a burden to you.

 spend quality time with your loved one.

– neglect your loved one.

  be patient with your loved one.

 be in a hurry.

 establish and adhere to a consistent

 make frequent changes to their daily

  think of fun ways to deal with

 exhibit frustration or irritability.

 keep your loved one involved in
activities they enjoy.

– isolate your loved one.

 arrange regular visits with close
relatives and friends.

 keep them away from those they know and love.

 encourage as much independence as

 take away activities they can safely do for themselves.

 agree with your loved one … even when they’re wrong.

 argue with your loved one; s/he will soon forget.

 make regular doctor visits with your
loved one.

 neglect the importance of their health and wellness.

– realize that they will say things that
will hurt you.

 become defensive; remember, it’s part the disease.

 seek legal advice to protect your loved one’s interests.

 make important decisions without
professional advice.

 keep accurate records of your loved one’s finances.

­- neglect documentation of all income and expenses.

– ask for help when you need it.

– try to do it all yourself.

– take care of yourself!

– ignore the need for periodic respite.

I hope you find these “Do’s and Don’ts” helpful. Every experience with Alzheimer’s Disease is different because AD affects different people in different ways. So please feel free to share because we can all learn from each other. The more we learn, the more precious the “gift.”

God bless you!!  God bless America!!! 

Beverly Ellison <><

Share this!