Tactful Responses to Bad Care

The moment may come when you see or overhear a professional caregiver -- a home aide, a nurse at a facility, a physician, an assistant -- say or do something to your loved one that rubs you the wrong way. In fact, it may indeed have been the wrong approach. You'll always feel better by speaking up, in a tactful way, than by saying nothing. (And you might help your loved one, or someone else's, be treated better next time.)

In her wonderful guide, Talking to Alzheimer's: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit With a Family Member or Friend, Claudia J. Strauss suggests the following:

  • Point out the problem privately afterward: "I wonder if there might be another way to do that? I'm not sure why, but that didn't feel too comfortable for me hearing it, so I imagine it wasn't too comfortable for you, either. What do you think?"

  • Reassure your loved one, too. Hug and say, "That was odd. Are you okay?" Or, "That wasn't right. I'm really surprised by it." Or simply, "I'm sorry that happened."

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio