What To Do When Someone With Dementia Is Confused

what to do when someone with dementia is confused
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Understand the Root Cause

Confusion and memory loss in people with dementia is often caused by changes in their brain. As dementia progresses, the brain begins to shrink and its cells can no longer communicate properly with each other. This can result in confusion, memory loss, and difficulty understanding and responding to the world around them. It’s important to remember that confusion is a symptom of the disease and not a sign of the person’s character.

Stay Calm and Reassure Them

When someone with dementia is confused, it is important to remain calm and reassure them. Don’t argue with them or try to reason with them; this will just lead to more confusion and frustration. Instead, talk to them in a gentle and understanding voice and ask them questions to help them find the right answer. If they get agitated, try to distract them by talking about a pleasant memory or asking them to talk about a favorite hobby.

Help Them Retrace Their Steps

If the person with dementia is confused about where they are or what they are doing, try to help them retrace their steps. Ask them questions about where they were before and what they were doing. If they are confused about where they are going, try to provide a few clues about the destination and help them remember. If they don’t remember the destination, try to get them to focus on the moment by talking about something pleasant or familiar.

Explain Things Simply

When talking to someone with dementia, it’s important to explain things in simple terms. Avoid using long sentences and complicated words. Break down instructions into smaller, easily understandable steps. When explaining something, keep your voice calm and use positive language. If the person with dementia is having difficulty understanding, try using visuals like pictures or diagrams to help explain.

Provide a Supportive Environment

Creating a supportive environment is key to helping someone with dementia stay calm and reduce confusion. Make sure the environment is well-lit and free from distractions. If possible, try to create a familiar environment and surround them with familiar objects such as pictures and mementos. Additionally, provide them with a comfortable and safe place to rest, such as a chair or a bed.

Encourage Social Interaction

Social interaction is important for people with dementia, as it can help reduce confusion and improve overall wellbeing. Encourage the person to interact with others, such as family members, friends, and caregivers. If they have difficulty communicating, try to help them by facilitating conversations. Additionally, attending social events, such as music therapy sessions or art classes, can be beneficial for those with dementia.

Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a routine is important for people with dementia, as it can help reduce confusion and provide structure to their day. Try to incorporate activities, such as exercise and hobbies, that are familiar and enjoyable. A consistent schedule can also help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of security. Make sure to allow for flexibility, however, as this can help the person stay engaged and feel less overwhelmed.

Stay Positive

When caring for someone with dementia, it’s important to remain positive and encouraging. Speak in a positive tone and avoid using negative language. Praise the person for their achievements, no matter how small. Remind them of the things they can do and focus on the positive aspects of their life. It’s also important to remain patient and understanding, as this can help the person feel less overwhelmed and confused.

Seek Professional Help

If the person continues to be confused or agitated, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A doctor or dementia specialist can provide guidance and advice on how to best manage the situation. Additionally, a therapist can help the person with dementia learn strategies to cope with their confusion. Finally, support groups and online resources can provide additional help and support for both the person with dementia and their caregivers.


Confusion can be a difficult and frustrating symptom of dementia, but it can be managed with the right approach. Understanding the root cause of the confusion is important, as is creating a supportive and familiar environment. Explaining things in simple terms, encouraging social interaction, sticking to a routine, and remaining positive can also help reduce confusion. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

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