Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting Someone with Dementia

These do’s and don’ts help family and friends have successful visits with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

People with dementia can still enjoy having visitors

Older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may still enjoy having visitors.

To help everyone have a positive experience when visiting someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a little advance preparation goes a long way.

You can set visitors up for success by sharing some do’s and don’ts ahead of time and create a calm environment so your older adult can focus better.

Having a great visit and understanding more about dementia might even encourage family and friends to visit more often.

We share 4 tips for planning successful visits and share essential do’s and dont’s that create a positive experience by helping family and friends know what to say and do.


4 tips for planning visits strategically

  1. Limit visitors to 1 or 2 people at a time. Too many people can be overwhelming.
  2. Schedule visits for the time of day when your older adult is usually at their best.
  3. Minimize distractions by keeping the environment calm and quiet. Turn off the TV or loud music and ask any non-visitors to go to another room.
  4. Send the do’s and don’ts list to your visitors ahead of time so they’ll have time to absorb the information.


21 essential do’s and don’ts for visiting someone with Alzheimer’s


  1. Keep your tone and body language friendly and positive.
  2. Don’t speak too loudly.
  3. Make eye contact and stay at their eye level.
  4. Introduce yourself even if you’re sure they must know you. “Hi Grandma, I’m Joe, your grandson.”
  5. Speak slowly and in short sentences with only one idea per sentence. For example: “Hi Mary. I’m Jane, your friend.” or “What a beautiful day. The sunshine is nice, isn’t it?” or “Tell me about your daughter.”
  6. Give them extra time to speak or answer questions, don’t rush the conversation.
  7. Use open-ended questions so there will be no right or wrong answers.
  8. Be ok with sitting together in silence. They may enjoy that just as much as talking.
  9. Follow their lead, don’t force conversation topics or activities.
  10. Validate their feelings. Allow them to express sadness, fear, or anger.
  11. Enter their reality. Go with the flow of the conversation even if they talk about things that aren’t true or don’t make sense.
  12. Share and discuss memories of the past. They’re more likely to remember things from long ago.
  13. Come prepared with an activity, like something to read out loud, a photo album to look at, or some of their favorite music to listen to.
  14. Give hugs, gentle touches, or massage arms or shoulders if the person gives permission and enjoys it.


  1. Say “do you remember?” This can cause anger or embarrassment.
  2. Argue. If they say something that’s not correct, just let it go.
  3. Point out mistakes. It just makes them feel badly and doesn’t help the conversation.
  4. Assume they don’t remember anything. Many people have moments of clarity.
  5. Take mean or nasty things they say personally. The disease may twist their words or make them react badly out of confusion, frustration, fear, or anger.
  6. Talk down to them. They aren’t children and you should show the proper respect.
  7. Talk about them with other people as if they’re not there.


Recommended for you:


By DailyCaring Editorial Team


  • Reply December 27, 2023


    My 93 yr old mother is in a memory care nursing home. She has been there 3 months and still is confused about where she is and why she is not at home. When I visit (once or twice a week) she cries when I leave and begs me not to. Would it help her if I just go for shorter visits daily at the same time?

    • Reply December 27, 2023


      That’s a great thing to try. It often takes some experimenting to find something that will work and help her feel more calm at the end of your visits. If her dementia is advanced enough that her short-term memory has declined significantly, you could try something like telling her you’re going to the restroom (instead of saying you’re leaving) and then she won’t remember that you didn’t come back.

      You could also try giving her a stuffed animal (maybe one that reminds her of a former pet?) or a baby doll to help provide comfort. We’ve got more info here –

  • Reply December 5, 2023

    susan doty

    my friend is in an assisted living facility, and wants to come to our house to play cards one night her POA does not think that is a good idea.

    • Reply December 5, 2023


      It’s great that you want to keep playing cards with your friend. There might be a good reason why her POA doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Maybe you could visit her in the assisted living community and play cards there.

  • Reply October 30, 2023

    Mary njoroge

    dimentia victims,are all about,care , loving n passion,it’s a stage where every patient need that feeling of love,and care from those around him or her

  • Reply February 6, 2023

    Anna Marie Tice

    my close friend has dementia. She is now at a facility that takes care of her. I visit with her at least once a week.

    • Reply February 6, 2023


      It’s wonderful that she’s well cared for and that you’re able to visit so often 💜

Leave a Reply