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CARE Helps Family Caregivers Who Have a Parent with Dementia

CARE is an acronym some family caregivers learn from specialists and counselors when dealing with dementia. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s worth learning. The easiest way to avoid the agitation and anger that can go hand in hand with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is by remembering to CARE.

C – Do Not Criticize

Home Care Northbrook, IL: CARE Helps Family Caregivers

You want to criticize some of the things your parent does. You find your mom’s glasses in her shoe. You find the remote in the refrigerator. You find your dad’s wallet in an ice cream container in the freezer. It seems so odd to you.

If you criticize, you’ll make your parent feel bad. That hurt will cause agitation and frustration. That ends up spiraling and may lead to an outburst.

A – Do Not Argue

Arguing with your parent won’t get you anywhere. Your mom or dad won’t remember why the argument is happening. What is clear is that you’re upset and arguing. They’ll be frustrated because they don’t understand why.

You don’t have to agree, but you have the power to stop the argument. Change the subject by distracting and move on.

R – Do Not Reason

Reasoning skills are one of the things that decline and disappear with dementia. If your parent has no ability to reason, there’s no point trying to force skills that just aren’t there.

Use short, simple statements and yes and no questions. Your mom has packed her kitchen items into grocery bags and insists that it’s time to go home. Reasoning with her won’t help. You can tell her that she is home, but she doesn’t have the skills to understand that. You’re better off saying something like, “soon,” even if it is a lie.

E – Do Not Explain

Like reasoning, long explanations won’t help your mom. You need to keep things simple to just a few words or a short phrase. If you try to give a lengthy explanation, your parent won’t remember much of what you say. Only a few words might stick, and that’s going to lead to agitation.

Remember that people with dementia will only remember a few keywords. Someone says “your dog is with your neighbor because you weren’t offering the right level of care. You were forgetting to feed your dog and let him outside.” What your parent will focus on is the dog, care, and forgetting. It’s going to cause agitation.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will make you sad, frustrated, angry, and stressed. Make sure you take time for self-care. Home care services are an important part of taking care of yourself. Let home care aides spend time caring for your parent while you take an hour or two to be alone or leave the house.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Northbrook, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas

Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro, founder of Companion Services of America, LLC received a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. Jamie started her career in psychiatric social work at Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry. Later, she went on to become the Director of Social Services at Belmont Community Hospital where she developed discharge planning procedures to assist staff in identifying potential patients requiring intervention.