Beth Spencer, Caring.com Expert


Beth Spencer is a social worker in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with more than 25 years of experience with families who have a member with dementia. She is coauthor of Understanding Difficult Behaviors and Moving a Relative with Memory Loss: A Family Caregiver's Guide. She directs Silver Club, early-stage and adult day programs serving individuals with Alzheimer's and related illnesses.


Recently Published on Caring.com

What's the best way to keep a parent with Alzheimer's safe from wandering at night? — Nov 30, 2008
Yes, most professionals consider this a form of neglect or abuse. It's generally not very safe and can be extremely upsetting to the person with Alzheimer’s disease. ...
Is it common for people with Alzheimer's to be able to do one task but not the reverse of it? — Nov 30, 2008
There can be many things going on here. The person may not be able to understand the function of an item anymore -- so she looks at an object, but can no longer readily ide...
Is there a solution to an Alzheimer's patient taking off her clothing? — Nov 30, 2008
The first thing to analyze is why and when she is taking off her clothes. Sometimes this is an indication of discomfort  -- uncomfortable clothing, the person is too h...
How can I help my mom, who has dementia, deal with seling her home and possessions and moving? — Nov 04, 2008
Moving a person with dementia can be very difficult even though it's often necessary. My suggestion is that you find a way to have the yard sale and empty the house without...
How can I get my aunt who has dementia to leave her house... — Nov 04, 2008
Many people with dementia become uncomfortable going out, even when they have been social people in the past. There are many possible reasons: Feeling discomfort in larger ...
Can dementia change personality? — Nov 04, 2008
Dementia can, indeed, change a person’s personality if the part of the brain where personality is lodged is damaged. Sometimes there are situations or people that are...
How can I convince my mother to clean up her home so that it is safer? — Nov 04, 2008
What you're describing is called “hoarding” behavior in the mental health field. It's considered a form of obsessive-compulsive behavior and is very difficult t...
Should my mother with dementia be put in a care facility? — Oct 29, 2008
I'm not sure what you mean by a  "bout of dementia." The first question is whether your mother has been diagnosed with some form of dementia. The symptoms of...
Should my husband go to an Alzheimer's specialist for testing and diagnosis? — Oct 29, 2008
The test in the doctor's office is called a Mini Mental Status Test (MMSE). It's a screen for possible memory problems, not a diagnostic test. It's routinely given to older...
My 87-year old mother is seeing things that are not there. What causes this? — Aug 08, 2008
What you are describing could be a visual hallucination or a delusion (a mistaken belief). In either case there are many possible causes. Sometimes sensory loss, in the for...