Three years ago, my Mom took a fall, breaking her hip. That started a series of events that catapulted me into care-giving for both of my parents, now both diagnosed with Dementia, and both challenging me daily. The last three years have been difficult. Now, looking back, I see that many of my difficulties came from lack of understanding. When their behavior first became odd, and I began to uncover the mistakes, the lies, the neglect of duties and hygiene, it really blindsided me. I really did not have any idea how to deal with them. The next order of business was to take Dad's car from him; his driving had become horribly unsafe. He spent a lot of cash on that car and he was furious when I refused to return it, after one of his spells in a rehab facility. He still resents me, and doesn't trust me, as he slips into senility, and it's sad because our relationship may not recover before we lose a cognizant connection. I am the only family member caring for them. There is a sibling, but he is of no value for this. In fact he had become threatening to both the old folks and me, so I have forcibly removed him from any further responsibilities. Now I have had three years of being involved. During this time both parents have considerably deteriorated. I lead a discussion of aging and care-giving issues on FaceBook. We regularly have about 150 participants, world-wide in origin. The other night, in the midst of a discussion, it hit me suddenly that I was doing almost everything wrong. There's a fundamental principle that we were all missing: We tend to think of the aged and dementia patients as conforming to an age old euphemism: They are in their Second Childhood. Within that concept lies a huge flaw. When we correct a behavior in a child, we can expect the child will remember the lesson, and their behavior will improve. We cannot expect the same from a Dementia Patient. When we correct behavior in a dementia patient, the following day, they may not remember at all, and are very likely to repeat the offensive behavior. We cannot allow this to anger us or be a source of frustration. Punishment cannot be used to correct behavior, as with a child, nor can we speak harshly, criticize, or demand: all such actions are as useless as they are damaging. Dementia patients may not remember the words you use but they will remember how you make them feel. Therefore only loving, comforting behavior will produce any results, and even then, you may find a worsening, the following day. It's a downhill run all the way, and all we are trying to do is make it easier: not so painful, less frightening... and preserve some joy, some bit of happiness, as our elders and friends approach the gate at the end of the garden walk.