As we age, our bodies and minds undergo changes, and some of these changes can lead to illnesses like dementia. Dementia is a decline in cognitive function, which can make it challenging for individuals, caregivers, and loved ones to communicate effectively. It’s easy to forget how to treat individuals with dementia with dignity and respect. During a visit to a care facility, we found a wish list made by a person with dementia, reminding us to treat individuals with dementia with dignity and respect.
The following are the 22 wishes of the person with dementia that their family and friends should follow:
1. Embrace my reality.
2. Let me believe what makes me happy.
3. Don’t argue with me about what is true.
4. Don’t take it personally if I don’t recognize you.
5. Switch me to finger foods if I can’t use utensils.
6. Listen to me if I am sad or anxious.
7. Treat me like an adult.
8. Help me enjoy the things I’ve always enjoyed.
9. Ask me to tell you a story from my past.
10. Figure out what is bothering me if I become agitated.
11. Treat me the way you want to be treated.
12. Ensure that there are plenty of snacks for me.
13. Don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.
14. Don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24/7.
15. Visit me often if I live in a dementia care community.
16. Don’t act frustrated if I mix up names or events.
17. Play my favorite music within earshot.
18. Help me return items to their original place.
19. Don’t exclude me from parties or gatherings.
20. Remember that I like receiving hugs or handshakes.
21. Make a living will with a “do not resuscitate” instruction.
22. Remember that I am still the person you know and love.
Dementia can be challenging, but by following these 22 wishes, we can help make the journey more comfortable and dignified for those affected by it. We must commit to treating individuals with dementia with compassion and respect, considering their wishes and needs. Placing this wish list in a visible location can serve as a constant reminder to treat individuals with dementia with dignity and respect. By doing so, we can help individuals with dementia maintain their dignity and quality of life, even as their condition progresses.