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How can I try to encourage my aunt to come out with us for lunch during our visits?

Answered by Karen Garner

July 31, 2016

Could I ask how I try to encourage a relative aunt with Alzheimer's to come out with us for lunch during our visits to see her? She has recently gone to live in a care home. She is in her 70s and is probably in the intermediate stage. She can become angry and unresponsive, not wanting much to eat even by the care workers in her home and stays in her room not wanting to mix with other residents. Thank you for any advice in this matter.

What a great relative you are to put so much care and effort into her social and mental well being. It is very important she get nutrition in her, but it is equally important she is able to socialize and feel part of her community. Not knowing how long she has been in her current home, I am thinking she hasn’t been there long. It is quite common when an elderly person with dementia (and sometimes without) moves to a new environment, they have difficulty adjusting and working themselves back into the social scene.

At this point, patience, encouragement and reminders to get out of her room will help but probably won’t be the final answer. Please discuss her anger with her physician. Is she only angry when you try to get her to do an activity or is she always angry? Try to find patterns. What used to interest her may no longer hold much interest. Listen for clues on why she isn’t wanting to leave her room.

Is she worried about falling? Is she hot, cold, the lights are too bright, too dim, is she having a hard time remembering where to go? There could be a minor reason she is hesitant to head out into the rest of the facility. Sometimes loud noises can cause issues…is there loud music or other residents who are loud? Also, you can get a baby doll and sit it at the table with her if it holds her interest and she wants to “take care” of the baby.

Keep coming by and working with the staff to gradually get her out of her shell, but keep in mind it may never happen. If she isn’t eating, please speak with her physician about supplements to ensure she is getting proper nutrition. Sometimes protein shakes will do the trick. Good luck!!

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