May 4, 2009 -- Question: How do I help visitors feel comfortable around my loved on with Alzheimer's?
Answer: How one prepares visitors to visit with somebody who has a memory problem varies, of course, on the circumstance, on the person, on the visitor themselves. But in general, I think it's important for people who visit people with memory problems to be aware of what that person's challenges really are -- and that's often recent memory rather than long-term memory.
So you might prime that person with a topic that might be of interest to the individual that they're visiting. But I also think it's very important not to have them feel that this is somehow a different person.
This is a human being, whether the visitor knows the person or not, will vary on the advice you give, but it's still somebody who appreciates all the common hospitality and greetings, and you shouldn't visit somebody with a memory problem and somehow feel that just because they may have been applied the label "Alzheimer's disease" that they're somehow not somebody that you should follow the usual social graces with.