Tips for Gen Z and Millennials Supporting a Loved One Living with Dementia

Image of Dr. Macie Smith, as she discusses tips for supporting someone living with dementia

Caring for a loved one with early onset dementia may mean taking on caregiving responsibilities earlier than expected. Dr. Macie provides some helpful guidance for Millennials and members of Gen Z.

The recent announcement regarding Bruce Willis’ dementia diagnosis has likely raised many questions. While many people think dementia only occurs in older people, Bruce Willis has Frontal Temporal Dementia, an early onset type of dementia that presents symptoms prior to the age of 65.

Today, more than 6 million Americans are living with dementia, and in many cases Gen Z and Millennial family members are providing care and support for their loved one living with the condition. With early onset cases, family members could become caregivers much earlier for their parents than they anticipate so it helps to be prepared.

In order to compassionately support someone living with dementia with person-centered care and provide a high quality of life, consider incorporating these best practices.

  • Keep the environment simple and calming.
  • Establish a predictable routine so they know what to do next and won’t have to repeatedly ask you.
  • Be patient.
  • Communicate in simple terms and allow your loved one time to process and respond.
  • Allow your loved one to do things that are familiar, such as help wiping down the table, folding laundry or sweeping the floor.
  • Congratulate your loved one on completing a task, as opposed to criticizing them. For example, if your loved one puts their shirt on inside out, don’t say that it’s on backwards; say that they did a good job putting on their shirt.
  • Give them appropriate choices and try not to control their decisions. Making decisions helps to promote independence.
  • Take care of yourself, too. Caregiving is challenging and can become consuming. That’s where respite care can help, whether you tap into your own personal network or seek professional caregiving support from a company like SYNERGY HomeCare.

Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to


For more information on caring for a loved one with dementia, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.

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