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"How can I interact with my grandmother who has dementia?"

ZocdocAnswersHow can I interact with my grandmother who has dementia?


Hello. My 88 year old grandmother has dementia. I would like to spend as much quality time as I can with her, but she isn't all there. What can I do? I take her out for long drives and she seems to like those.


Just the fact that you have a desire to interact with your grandmother is invaluable to her. Spending the time, even if the time doesn't feel that it is necessarily quality time given her state of mind, is the absolute best thing that you can do. As you seem to have done, find something that she seems to enjoy, or that seems to help her relax. Many people will enjoy reading books together, playing simple board games, or just being together in any way. Obviously, interacting to the degree that you are able is usually more profitable than just being in the same room, but even just being there for her and saying nothing is of great benefit to her well being. Depending on the cause and course of your grandmother's dementia, she may begin to let you know in subtle ways that she appreciates you being there. Even if she is unable to do that, you can enjoy the knowledge of the fact that you are engaged in one of the most selfless acts that a human can do: helping to alleviate the suffering of someone who will likely never be able to let you know how much they need it. Ask her doctors and caregivers for some recommendations adapted for her.

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