Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
skip navigation
For Caregivers

in for caregivers

related info

Cartoon with picture of man and woman walking together, hand-in-hand.  Woman is carrying a large sign which says 'Wife'.

For Caregivers: spending time together

As a caregiver, there often isn’t anything that you need to “do.” Simply being present is hugely important. This is particularly true for those in the late stages of the disease. Don’t try to be perfect. Acknowledge that caregiving is difficult, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Simple Tips for Creating Enjoyable Time

Spending time and interacting with someone who has Alzheimer's can be frustrating. Being easily overwhelmed, confused and distracted are all common, uncontrollable symptoms of the disease. However, family and friends can learn a few communication methods to make your time together a more comfortable experience.

Find out what the person Enjoys

Alzheimer's usually doesn't change what people like or dislike. It changes their abilities. Never force people with Alzheimer's to do activities they dislike. If it's not enjoyable, it's not worth doing. Just keep experimenting and be creative.

Take advantage of remaining abilities.

As Alzheimer's progresses, certain abilities will disappear, but even into the late stages, the essence of a person remains. For a better idea of what abilities are retained, visit Stages of Alzheimer's.

Look for These Qualities in an Activity

Age-appropriate
Safe
Not overwhelming with the amount of noise, people, or visual confusion
Multi-sensory

Look for Negative Feedback

Perfectionist Alert

Some people might refuse to do certain hobbies or tasks because they are no longer satisfied with the results.

People with Alzheimer's tend to vote with their feet. If they don't like something, they often just walk away or tell you they're not interested. Respect their wishes, and be on the lookout for other signs of disinterest such as fidgeting, lack of eye contact, anxiety or frustration.

Look for Positive feedback

To figure out what people with Alzheimer's enjoy, look for things that hold their attention or things they do repetitively. Once you pinpoint a well-loved activity, use forgetfulness to your advantage. People with Alzheimer's can enjoy doing the same things over and over again.