Behavior depends on the individual and the stage of the disease. Contrary to popular stereotypes, people with dementia are not usually crazy or violent. In fact, keeping a person with Alzheimer’s active and stimulated is one of the biggest tasks for a caregiver. Without a caregiver’s intervention, an Alzheimer’s patient can get depressed or isolated easily. Some of this is the function of the disease process itself, but some of it stems from a deep sense of loss. As you might imagine, people with dementia get confused very easily and often mistake one person for another. Here at Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay, we find it best to respond to odd questions or statements by trying to discern the emotion underneath. For example, if someone is at home but keeps saying they want to go home, they are probably feeling lost or scared. Telling them “I’m here with you, you’re going to be okay,” is much more productive than saying, “But you are home!” over and over. People with Alzheimer’s often repeat the same stories or ask the same questions over and over, a function of their memory loss. It is best to remain patient and answer the question in a low-pitched, gentle voice. Respond to the emotion underneath the question or story. You can also try to redirect the person’s attention. Here at ASEB, our trained staff are very gentle, patient, and creative in helping our participants, yet they also know that a technique that worked in the morning may not work at night. Working with Alzheimer’s means always looking for clues and constantly adjusting your approach. The patient can’t change, so the staff member has to.