Wish List of “Rules” for Caregivers from Your Loved One with Dementia

Caregivers, both family and paid, who lovingly care for people with dementia find joy and sometimes frustration when dealing with day to day tasks.

It is important that we treat the person with dementia as a human being and not just someone that needs our help. They have thoughts, feelings and emotions now, just as they did in the past.

Nurturing them, both physically and mentally, and treating them with the respect they deserve may not always be our priority when safety concerns and personal care seem overwhelming, but it is vital nonetheless.

Inspiration in the Form of Rules for Caregivers

We found a very thought-provoking list of rules for those who care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

It was written by a dementia practitioner and blogger named Rachael Wonderlin and can be found on Dementia by Day.

The list was born of experience dealing with people at all stages of dementia.

It is a great reminder that having dementia doesn’t mean that they can’t interact with you. We need to remember the contributions that individual made to our lives, community, and world prior to their diagnosis.

People with dementia are unique, loving, and worthy of our respect — despite their progressive disease process.


by Rachael Wonderlin

If I get dementia, I’d like my family to hang this wish list up on the wall where I live.

  1. If I get dementia, I want my friends and family to embrace my reality. If I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
  2. If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am.
  3. If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read, and visit with friends.
  4. If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past.
  5. If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me.
  6. If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
  7. If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Even now if I don’t eat I get angry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need.
  8. If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.
  9. If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.
  10. If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
  11. If I get dementia, don’t act frustrated if I mix up names, events, or places. Take a deep breath. It’s not my fault.
  12. If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot.
  13. If I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original places.
  14. If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings.
  15. If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.
  16. If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love.

Being a caregiver is not always the most exciting thing we can imagine doing but it is a rewarding and fulfilling role that you will be happy you accepted in the years to come.

It may feel thankless at times but we and many others….

thank you for caring!

2 thoughts on “Wish List of “Rules” for Caregivers from Your Loved One with Dementia”

  1. This is such a great list! I worked with a woman who lived in Los Angeles who firmly believed she was still living with her father and mother in Alabama on their sweet potato farm. I loved hearing her stories about the farm.

    • Thanks for sharing Kathy! My greatest pleasure working with seniors is listening to their stories. They have contributed to our communities and societies and have such experiences to share if we listen. This list is a good reminder to do just that!

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