Limit Options to Lessen Frustration

When my son was young, I would periodically take him to an ice cream shop whose specialty was its 21 flavors. After he had spent a lengthy amount of time looking at all the options, he would select vanilla. It drove me crazy! But come to think of it, I always selected the one flavor I liked the most too. I wonder now if the selections were just too much to process, so he stuck with what was familiar.

Photo by KOUSHIK BALA on

Decades later when my mother was housed at an Alzheimer’s care facility, I watched how the staff helped the clients make food selections when they had an outing at a restaurant.  First, they selected a venue that was elderly-friendly and understood the possible limitations of the group. The facility’s staff had the waitresses offer their clients two meal choices rather than give them an entire menu to select from. They realized that having too many decisions to make can be overwhelming to an Alzheimer’s patient.

Likewise, a caregiver can also become frustrated when their loved one can no longer make a selection quickly.  You can lessen the frustration for both of you by offering a smaller pool of options, whether it’s what to wear or what to eat. Yes, your loved one’s world does become smaller, but providing limited options can give them the dignity of being able to choose for themselves as long as they can.

Published by Ardella

I am a retired educator and a Christian Education director. My passion is teaching and writing. My book, Learning to Love Olivia, chronicles my journey in caring for my mother during her season with Alzheimer's.

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