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Social Interaction/ Withdrawal | Management Strategies

  1. If the person you care for is becoming less involved in social activities, look into adult day programs. It is important that there are enough people at his or her level of ability in the day program, and coordinators will ensure those who require extra time and attention receive the care in which they need.

  2. Many Alzheimer's patients find large groups confusing. They can't follow the conversation in the midst of noise and distraction. One-on-one activity may be more successful. For example, a visit may include a short stay involving straightforward conversation and perhaps a gift of food.

  3. The person you care for might not be able to follow a group discussion in the volunteer organization they used to be involved with, but they might take a new one up, such as the Alzheimer's Society . They may be able to participate in an activity which is less demanding, such as stuffing envelopes and they are still contributing to the good of the organization.

  4. If the person you care for is withdrawing from friends and family, it could be because they cannot remember their names or identify them. If this is the case, you can let friends and relatives know of ways to make the person more comfortable, such as telling them to introduce themselves and to suggest topics which you know that the person you care for can discuss. Friends can also learn to ask not "How are you?" but to say "It's good to see you" as a way to open conversation.

  5. In order to reintroduce past social activities, offer to stay with them. Providing a familiar face and support may give them the extra confidence needed in order to once again take part in activities that they used to enjoy.

  6. Social interaction is a two way street and sometimes people withdraw because they sense that their friends are nervous about having them around. This sometimes can be true so it is often a good first step to talk to their friends. Ask how they feel. Are they willing to visit? Would they like you to be there? Remember that dementia is common as people age and that many older people are worried about their own memory and this makes it very hard for them to see a friend who has dementia.

  7. Often Alzheimer's disease can affect the parts of the brain responsible for social interaction. Inappropriate conduct with others can also be a problem. Sometimes the brain functions are made better by medications , including the cholinesterase inhibitors and also antidepressants. Consult your family physician about whether these are needed, as well as the proper doses and types.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Wandering
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Interest/Initiative (lack of)
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Language Difficulty/Expression/Word Finding
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Anxiety and Worry
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory for Names and Faces
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Natural Progression and Staging
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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