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Friday April 28, 2023

Arguing is a Waste of Time Blog

Have you ever wondered why arguing with a person with dementia is so frustrating?

It’s frustrating because it is not productive. Arguing will NEVER change their mind. Never!

Dementia makes it difficult for a person to process logical thoughts. Arguing with someone who cannot think logically is pointless and draining. It’s like asking someone with a broken leg to run a marathon. Your loved one’s brain physically cannot do what you are asking them to do.

What do I do if my loved one starts an argument?

  1. Validate their feelings. Try to see things through their eyes and express empathy for that viewpoint. Validation will comfort them and reduce agitation.
  2. After you validate their feelings, change the subject and redirect to something more positive.
  3. Don’t take negative behaviors to heart. This is the disease process. They are not intentionally trying to hurt you or stir up bad feelings.
  4. Pick your battles. Arguing will leave you drained, frustrated, and burned out from caregiving. Sometimes, it’s best to accept the blame and move on.


Your mom has a doctor’s appointment on a Monday morning. You have been telling her for weeks about this appointment. You even put a reminder note on the fridge for her. You wake her up early to get ready. You get in the car, and your mom asks: “Where are we going?”

You tell her you are going to a doctor’s appointment. She says: “Why didn’t you tell me about this? You know I need to know about these things ahead of time.”

You could sigh loudly and let her know you have been telling her about this for weeks. You could show her the reminder note you put on the fridge to make your point.

OR you could accept the blame and move on. Tell her how sorry you are that you forgot to tell her about it. Say: “I hate it when people do that to me. I’m so sorry I forgot to tell you beforehand.” Then, redirect. “Do you want to drive-thru McDonald’s on our way to the doctor? I know you like their sausage biscuits.”

This is a new skill to learn. We want to be right and truthful, but sometimes to avoid arguments and bad feelings, you may have to tell a lie. We like to call it a “fiblet” or “loving deception.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggle with this and find yourself stirring up an argument with your loved one. Try again. And if you need to talk about your specific situation, give us a call. We would be happy to help.

Written by Sheri Wammack, LBSW