lilac flowers with sunshine | the DAWN Method

Three Caregiver Tips for Dementia That Prevent Hurt Feelings

Being a Dementia Partner It’s very important to remember that the person who is experiencing dementia may or may not be able to understand that it is their own abilities that are changing, and that even though their cognitive skills are becoming more limited, they are not becoming lesser beings. We can preserve their dignity … Read more

yellow and red striped tulips with dew | the DAWN Method

Autonomy and Dementia

Supporting a Sense of Self in Dementia Unless we balance our loved one experiencing dementia’s need for autonomy and dignity with their need for safety, we cannot help them preserve a sense of self. In his book Being Mortal, Atul Gawande points out that in this country we seem to confuse prolonging life with preserving … Read more

snow bank in the trees | the DAWN Method

Keep Me Safe, But Let Me be Me

Transitions from one life stage to another are always complicated. As teenagers become adults, their parents maintain a delicate balance between continued supervision and granting increasing responsibility. The process is rarely smooth. It goes in fits and starts, with spectacular failures interspersed with glowing successes. And it’s the same with the appearance of dementia. How … Read more

wheat fields in fall with pine trees and mountains in the distance | the DAWN Method

Turning No into Yes—Reaching Underlying Issues of Disempowerment

No one likes being told what to do, and that doesn’t change when dementia appears. When someone demands that you do something, isn’t your natural response a momentary “Why should I?” or “Who are you to tell me what to do?” When dementia has taken away rational thought, those innate responses aren’t followed by reasoning … Read more

Rocks in a river with forest and sky

Dementia and Aggressiveness

How to handle a combative dementia patient** [This article, “Dementia and Aggressiveness,” is the last in a series of three articles about mean dementia. See parts 1 and 2, “Mean Dementia—Dementia and Being Mean to Family,” and the “Dementia Anger Stage.”] “You stop that or I’ll hit you!” If you are someone who works with … Read more

snow on Ponderosa pine branches | the DAWN Method

Tips for Preserving Both Selfhood and Safety

Dementia causes memory and rational thought losses. Losing rational thought means losing skills such as the ability to perceive cause and effect, prioritize information or actions, or follow a sequence or steps in a task. The result is poor decision making and inadequate self care, putting safety at risk. How can we help our loved … Read more