Use "I" Statements Instead of "You" Statements for Better Alzheimer's Care

This simple shift in pronouns can improve cooperation and lift your loved one's mood: Use "I" statements" instead of "you" statements. "You" statements are those like, "You don't make sense." Compare that to "I" statements, which switch the emphasis to your abilities and make the person with dementia feel less criticized and ineffective: "I'm sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you."

More examples:

Instead of . . . * "Don't you remember I told you to be ready at 3:30?" Try . . . * "I'll remind you just before 3:30 when it's time to leave."

Instead of . . . * "You just said that." Try . . . * "I'm glad you told me that."

Instead of . . . * "You don't listen!" Try . . . * "I came up with a good way for us to remember."

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