The following was written by dementia writer and activist, Rachael Wonderlin, and originally publicized on Alzheimer’s Reading Room. Ms. Wonderlin has created a list that acts as a touching and gentle reminder for how people with dementia want to be treated:
“If I get dementia, please embrace my reality. If I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we are visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I will be much happier for it, and it will be easier for you.
If I get dementia, please do not treat me as if I am a child. Talk to me as the adult that I am.
If I get dementia, please let me enjoy the things that I have always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read, visit with friends, garden, and whatever else I have always enjoyed.
If I get dementia, please ask me to tell you a story from my past.
If I get dementia, and I become agitated, please take the time to understand what is bothering me, then help me solve the problem.
If I get dementia, please treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
If I get dementia, please make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Whenever anyone fails to eat, he or she becomes angry or at least irritable, but if I have dementia, I may have trouble telling you what I need.
If I get dementia, please do not discuss me in my presence as if I am not in the room.]
If I get dementia, please do not feel guilty that you cannot care for me 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. No one can do that. Instead, please find someone who can help you, including finding a great new place for me to live.
If I get dementia, please visit me often.
If I get dementia, please do not be frustrated if I mix up names, events, or places. Instead, please take a deep breath, then remember it is not my fault.
If I get dementia, please make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot.
If I get dementia, and I take items from where they belong then carry them around, please help me return those items to their original locations.
If I get dementia, please do not have parties and family gatherings without me.
If I get dementia, please remember that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.
If I get dementia, please remember that I am still the person you know and love.“