How to Offer Choices to Someone With Moderate-Stage Dementia

Limiting the kinds of choices someone with moderate-stage dementia needs to make -- and adjusting the way you offer them -- helps reduce anxiety. As immediate memory and organized thinking skills are lost, decision making becomes stressful, even over simple things. If you ask, "Do you want ice cream or pudding?" for example, the person will usually pick the last word heard (pudding).

What works better?

  • Offer a choice, but say the answer you think the person prefers last: "Do you want the blue sweater or your favorite red one?"

  • Simply make the choice for the person: "Here's your ice cream."

  • Lower stress even more by completely avoiding challenging, open-ended choices, such as "What do you want to do today?"


about 1 year ago, said...

i am taking care of my mom,she lives with me, she has copd,moderate dementia.how do i can help with the bills to pay,house payment.lightbill. i am not working,have not work in 5 months.i need help!!!


over 1 year ago, said...

I say to my mom, I am preparing etc. for dinner. This works really well for us. Also talking to much to a person with dementia is very confusing for them they cannot follow conversations well.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Anything to help take the anxiety done for all of us is always good!


over 3 years ago, said...

Where can I find adult with dementia coloring books, exercise tapes, etc?


almost 4 years ago, said...

Helps me realize that inability to make choices is just part of the whole thing.


almost 4 years ago, said...

How to approach subjects of what they want.


about 4 years ago, said...

I need to remember this because I'm the one who gets stressed. But sometimes I get so tired making all of the decisions.


about 4 years ago, said...

Sorry I did not mean to hit "No" as to whether it was helpful. It WAS helpful.


about 4 years ago, said...

I have just started running into this very same situation and **I** was getting stressed over it. Now I see it is the nature of the disease so I need to change my approach. Thank you.


about 4 years ago, said...

Marian Manor of Stafford,Va. reviewer-Fresh Air,just wanted my previous review to now add that my brother arrived there in pretty good shape, almost 3 months ago. We visited him on his 70th birthday. He looked good,but his basement area was terrible. His Aides/cook were very kind to him. I talked to him the other day,he was okay,now he is dead. He died this morning. Now,he can rest in peace, in God's care.


over 4 years ago, said...

thank you for these articles. I save them and have it printed and gave to the immediate members of the family. these will help us to take care of ono of our loved ones who is now with dementia.


over 4 years ago, said...

It opened my eyes to the way I was saying things. I was asking the open ended choices. I wanted to do what the person wanted to do. Now I will know how to handle situations. I will now know to put the emphasis on the last word since I already pretty much know this person and know what she would like to do. The last thing I want to do is cause her stress. Thanks for your help!!!


over 4 years ago, said...

This helped me just by confirming that what I encounter is "normal" for a person at which my wife finds herself I choose and cook all of our meals and she does the dishes....does not mind that I do this and make the choices. she has trouble deciding on menu items in restaurants, usually ends up ordering the same things. Choosing an attire ensemble causes stress and takes much time, exacerbated by the fact that she has put on weight. If we are expected at an engagement at , say 8:00 PM, I tell her 7:00 PM. Otherwise we will be late.


over 4 years ago, said...

The choices option. I can never get an answer when I ask a direct question. Even if my wife did answer, she probably wouldn't be able to finish the sentence, most of the time.


almost 5 years ago, said...

I'm so glad to have this website. Decisions are hard for my husband and now I see it is better for both of us if I make some decisions for him.


almost 5 years ago, said...

the suggestions for what works better


almost 5 years ago, said...

My problem is that I forget my sister can't be reasoned with, and I keep trying to reason with her over small things, like simple choices. I think your suggestions will help, if I only remember them at the right times. I get so frustrated at myself when I try to reason with her, and then realize I've done it again!


about 5 years ago, said...

Helpful


over 5 years ago, said...

I have noticed that it is difficult for my mother to answer questions as in your example. My Mom always says she is thinking, and it will be a long period of time. thanks


over 5 years ago, said...

Thanks again Emily M. I will read up on the subject of smoking cessation! Georgia OMM


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi Georgia, I'm so happy to you've been enjoying the site! Good luck helping your mother quit smoking, it's great to hear you are on the right track. My mom is a smoker too, so I completely understand the challenge. Sending my support to the both of you! Oh by the way, if you haven't already checked out our Smoking Cessation section, you might find it helpful: ( http://www.caring.com/smoking-cessation-helping-someone-stop-smoking )Take care! -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

Hello Emily M. -- Thank you for the warm welcome. Your site has become a staple in my daily life. Have read all of the comments and made a few myself already. Working on a problem with my mom smoking right now and have had several comments back and may be on the track to victory--we will see! Thanks again! Georgia OMM


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi Georgia, Welcome to Caring.com! We're so happy you've joined us, and that you are already finding our site useful. One great place you can connect with other caregivers on Caring.com is in our Stage Groups. You can visit your Stage Group, here: ( http://www.caring.com/my/group ). If you need help with your Caring.com account or anything else, feel free to contact me at moderators@caring.com and I'll do my best to assist you. Take care, and have a lovely night. -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

Hello all---I have just been looking through the website and have found the articles to be very helpful. Being in a support group is new for me and something I am afraid I should have done long ago. I have learned so much already just from reading the comments others are making. I am looking forward to more personal growth that will spill over into my work and interactions with my parents. Dad has alz. and mother has dementia, but she has not been classified so I don't know which kind she has. I wish you all a restful night.