How to get someone with dementia to accept help from others

Welcome back Careblazer. Today I want to talk about how to get your LOWD more receptive to help in the home and what to do if your LOWD is not agreeable to the help. 

To watch the video on this topic, click here

This topic is sparked by a member of my care course. During one of our question and answer sessions, she shared that she has always been the person to care for her husband. 24/7, she did everything. She’s finally at the point where she realizes, she needs to get away from time to time and there are some things she has to do out of the home that her LOWD can’t join her for. There is no family nearby. 


This Careblazer did a lot of things right when she introduced the help in the home and I want to share them with you and expand on them a bit. 

Even if you think your loved one would be totally against care, I don't want you to throw out this possibility. Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and can last years. Getting some help every now and then can be extremely helpful, so keep an open mind. 


Here are 5 tips for increasing the chances of success when you want to introduce help to your loved one at home. 



You don’t necessarily need to tell your loved one that you have someone coming in to help them with things. Because many people with dementia don’t know or believe they have dementia or don’t believe they have help (see the previous video on why your loved one doesn’t believe they have dementia) it’s not surprising they may not be jumping at the chance to have extra help. After all, they are doing just fine. So instead of calling it help, consider calling it a friend, a visitor, a chef, a maid, anything except for someone coming in to help them with things they cannot do themselves. 

2- LET THEM WARM-UP/gradually work them in

If you have a friend, family member, neighbor offering help, let your loved one warm up to them. Instead of that person immediately starting to do personal care tasks, have them sit with your loved one, watch TV with your loved one, play games with your loved one, take them outside. This would still be time for you to do things you need to do for yourself, like take a nap, go to the store, have coffee with a friend, and it starts building relationships with your loved one and your new helper. Imagine yourself in your loved one’s shoes. All of a sudden a stranger or someone they don’t know all that well comes into the home and tries to help with bathing, dressing, and toileting. That would be extremely hard. Try starting with the not so private and difficult stuff first. Giving them food, combing hair, shaving beard, clipping nails, doing laundry, etc.



It’s okay to let the person who is coming to help about the things to avoid saying, talking about, doing. If you know your loved one doesn’t like news on the TV, then be sure to let that person know so they can avoid a potential upsetting situation. If your loved one hates ice tea, but you love it so it’s always in the fridge, make sure that the caregiver knows so they don’t give it to your loved one. 



Some of the best dementia helpers I have known are the ones who come in the home, smile, say how nice it is to see them again, and get straight to doing whatever it is that they are doing. No big fuss, no big deal, no hesitation, or awkward discomfort. Your loved one with dementia will pick up on all that, so give your helper some tips on how to make the transition more smoothly. Those who walk in confidentiality and friendly will have much more success than those who walk in timid and make it a point to see like an outsider coming in to help. Act as you belong there, and your loved one with dementia will also feel like they belong there. it always helps to give a brief overview of the best communication strategies to use when interacting with people who have dementia.  I would suggest my video on 5 tips for talking with your loved one with dementia. Watch it and pass on the tips to any helpers who come in the home and may not be familiar with dementia.



Even if your loved one continues to resist or not want the help, it’s important that you consider yourself equally in the equation. Does this additional help make it possible for you to run errands, engage in self-care, take a nap, refresh yourself. If you are finding it helpful, even if your loved one doesn’t like it, then I’d encourage you to continue to have help in the home. That being said, another bonus tip here would be to say the help is for you. 


I was helping one of my care course members who had recent knee surgery and wanted to know how he can help introduce help in the home for his wife with dementia. In addition to the above tips I’ve already discussed, another tip is to say it’s for you. You want or need help with cooking or clearing. You don’t have to put the focus on your loved one. 


I hope these 5 tips can help you, Careblazer. Even if you can’t do them all, see if you can implement at least one of these tips. Even if help has been coming in for a while, some of these tips can help strengthen the relationship. I’ll be back next week.


If you want to be alerted for the next time my care course opens, be sure to click the waitlist here to be one of the first alerted, that way you can join in on future live Q & A’s in the future. I look forward to getting to know you. 


More helpful videos:

Why someone with dementia doesn’t believe they need help, click here

5 communication tips, click here


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