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This content is taken from the Purdue University & Purdue University Press's online course, Creating Moments of Joy for People with Alzheimer’s. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Absolutely understand that your mood affects their mood, so if you’re angry, they’re angry. If you’re rushing around trying to get stuff done, they’re like, where is she gonna go? I wanna go with her. Whose, where I need to go home? You decide what kind of day you get. So I know that you’re human and you can have really bad morning, right? You can be crabby because your kid didn’t get off to school or whatever the case will be. I need you to pause before you enter in with people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Cuz if you’re crabby, they’re crabby. So before you enter in that door, think of something that makes you feel good.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds It might be your flower garden that you’re working on, it might be the new outfit that you bought and you’re gonna get to wear. It might be a love of your own grandma. I don’t know, but think of something that you love before you walk in so you can embody that feeling. And then breathe it in. And then plant this puppy right here. Your mood absolutely affects everybody’s mood. Imagine if I gave this course, and I didn’t smile [COUGH]. I might even have not had a really bad day or anything. When you don’t smile and you’re with people, how does it make them feel? I’m gonna tell you that they feel like they’ve done something wrong.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds And when they feel like they might be in trouble or they’ve done something wrong or that you are upset. Do they feel safe with you?

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds You decide what kind of day you’re gonna get. Plant this puppy right here. Be mad at your kids. Be mad at whoever. You might even come in and go, my gosh. [LAUGH] My coworker sucks, I can’t stand her. [LAUGH] Say whatever is your feelings. Say it out loud. As long as you plant this puppy right here, you pretty much can say whatever that is you want to say. Cuz I’m gonna let you know 90%, that’s a big number, 90% of what they understand is not what you’re saying. [LAUGH] He’s such a jerk. [LAUGH] I hope he doesn’t come home tonight. They don’t know what you’re saying. All they know is what they see.

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 seconds And when they see that smile on your face you can get what’s off your chest in a playful manner. Smile, smile like the sun. Underneath you’re paddling, paddling, paddling because they’re gonna come up to you and go where’s my mom and you’re thinking right? And you just smile and say she’ll be right back. 90% of what they understand is not what you say, 90% of what they understand is how you say it. Say it with a smile.

You decide what kind of day you get

As you reflect upon this video, think about:

What does a person with Alzheimer’s understand more: your words or your facial expressions? Give examples.

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This video is from the free online course:

Creating Moments of Joy for People with Alzheimer’s

Purdue University