A Caregiver Asks: Do they choose not to listen when you tell them something? Or, do they not comprehend?

The short answer is yes to both of these situations.  Dementia, in its many forms, is a devastating brain disease. This makes it very hard for any of us to know and/or understand how someone will respond in the moment. Depending on what part of the brain is affected and what connections are working or not working at the time, reactions vary leaving caregivers questioning what is happening and why.

Do they choose not to listen when you tell them something?

Perhaps and here are a few reasons why:

  1. She is not feeling well and wants to be left alone.
  2. He doesn’t recognize you and sees no reason to respond to you.
  3. You keep saying the same thing to her and her answer is the same. She wants you to be quiet and go away.
  4. It gives him a feeling of control. Not answering is a response.

Or, do they not comprehend?

This is very often true. The brain controls all of our functions.

  1. Hearing, vision, balance, reasoning, emotions, any or all can change at any time. Their behavior can be affected for moments or altered forever
  2. When they can’t hear you, they won’t respond.
  3. When they can’t see well or their balance is off, they often resist getting up and walking.
  4. When the ability to understand cause and effect is gone, they will continue to do and say things that you repeatedly ask then not to do or say.

How do you cope with all that?

You do the best you can in the moment. When it gets too hard and you are frustrated and angry, go to another room and take some deep breaths. Cry; scream, pray, do what helps you.

Connect with other caregivers either in person in a caregiver support group or online. Learn as much about dementia behaviors as you can. They are not acting out on purpose and your reactions are normal.

What you need is support and understanding. You will always find it here.

Bobbi Carducci

Book Me for Your Next Caregiving Event


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