How To Be a Friend to Someone Living With Dementia

Helpful and valuable tips for any and all of us!


In the 3rd District of Sons of Norway, many of our members are senior citizens. Typically, we all know someone who is living with a degree of dementia. Often, we are unsure how to be most effective in bringing comfort to a friend who may be struggling and need our help and compassion. The following suggestions may help.

  • Educate yourself to the many types of dementia and how it manifests itself in different people.
  • Be available to your friend. Call and invite them to activities you both enjoy. It could be lunch, a museum visit, or a lodge meeting.
  • Avoid loud or crowded places when going out. They can be overwhelming and confusing.
  • Ask what they need help with and are comfortable doing. They may need a ride to a meeting, help with grocery shopping or cooking a meal. Little things you take for granted may be a struggle for your friend. Make eye contact and let them know that it is wonderful to see them.
  • Offer a personal touch. A hug or a gentle touch on the arm, hand or shoulder can mean a lot. Many persons with dementia feel others are afraid to interact with them.
  • Exercise patience if you are repeatedly asked the same questions. Just answer and do not point out the repetition. Your friend may need extra time and space to respond. They be working to process information and thinking about what they want to say.
  • Resist the temptation to correct or argue if your friend says something that is inaccurate. That may add to their feelings of frustration and embarrassment.
  • Offer reminders or connections if they are confused. “We had lutefisk at our last meeting” can help jog the memory.
  • Do not ask questions that tax short term memory. Asking “What did you do today?” may be confusing. Instead ask “How do you feel today?” and that will show that you care.


You can help bring the day closer when our friends and family members will no longer suffer dementia from Alzheimers by participating on the 3rd Districts Longest Day Fundraising Drive for the Alzheimers Association.


The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 20, thousands of participants from across the world come together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. Together, they use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Please support the 3rd District through your generous support.   

DONATE on June 20th or throughout the year.