Catching Flies With Honey: Words That Help You Work More Effectively With Aides

Being dependent on others to help look after someone with dementia is both a relief and source of worry. What happens when an aide or helper doesn't seem to be doing something to your satisfaction?

Try to avoid using the words bad or wrong in your comments.

  • Examples of what not to say: "That's a bad idea." "You're doing it the wrong way."

  • Better: Substitute sentences that involve the words more and less.

  • Examples of what to say: "Could you use a little less pressure when you wipe her skin? I worry because it's so delicate." "I'd like her to be changed more often; can we work toward that?"

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

about 4 years, said...

Great suggestions.... When I ask for something to be done or not done. I would like to try such and such out, can we try this and access the results in a couple of days and see which direction we should go in... Some things I just will not tolerate and these issues are a source of great anguish for the help and for me.... I still have not found a good strategy for such an occasion.... Any suggestions? Any one, all are welcome..

almost 5 years, said...

Made me remember to be more positive in my requests

over 6 years, said...

Thanks Paula...when stress runs high, these are good tips to remember. After all, we're all in this life together and want to do well. I will add ... OBSERVE the caregiver and try to compliment what s/he is doing right. WOW, I know what a challenge it is to help toilet my father...and he seems to cooperate when you do it. THEN share your suggestion as a question. The only thing I'm wondering about is, even with all the residents you care for, could you take a little more time to encourage him to do more for himself?

over 6 years, said...

Why, under "Helpful Resources" are all the places listed near Ardsley, NY? I don't live anywhere near Ardsley! I live on Long Island in Laurel Hollow, NY which is near Syosset.