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Substitution vs. Subtraction

Today’s insight discusses the differences between substitution and subtraction. Strategies to get an object away from a loved one with dementia.

Transcription of Video:

Hi, I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care, here with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Kate Jabe is helping me today. Kate is the residential supervisor here at Arthur’s Residential Care. And today we are talking about Substitution vs. Subtraction.

When a person with dementia has something that you want to get from them, we never take it away from them without first substituting something else.  A great example that Kate shared with me is using the wrong device. And so, Kate has a phone here and she has been trying to change television stations and it’s not working. A great thing to do is own the problem. The problem is my mistake, not Kate’s, and so I can say, “Oh Kate, I’m sorry this was my mistake, I gave you the wrong device. This is the remote, I gave you the phone by mistake, I’m sorry. I’m sure it will work better now.”

“Thank you.”

Another thing that you might want to substitute, say if somebody has something in their mouth that isn’t edible, or something that you just want back. For example, you know maybe they have had a piece of bubble gum and now it’s time to take it back, you always want to substitute something different before that. And so, I could say, “I just made some cookies, here you go here’s a fresh one. Oh, here let me take that for you.” And then you can take the gum away or you know whatever it is that’s in her mouth.

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798