How can my mother, who has Alzheimer's, and my pet safely live together?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 1 year ago. She is currently staying at my home. I have a small Yorkie-poo dog that my mom keeps feeding things that will make her sick such as chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, etc. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

Expert Answers

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

Interesting question and one I have not heard asked before. So pets and Alzheimer's disease (AD), they are usually are a good fit as people with AD usually love babies and pets. Right now however she doesn't understand that feeding a dog people food is not the best thing for the dog. so, you might try to store all food in cabinets with child locks. You might also have to separate them until this phase passes. Signs "do not feed the dog" may help some but with her short term memory loss this may not be effective. You will have to monitor when they are together until she no longer has the desire to feed the dog.
Best wishes to you on this holiday season.