Puffing up with pride - nice warm feeling


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
A comment of Brucie's in another thread about being proud of Jan made me think of this....something that might help others get a little peace, a warm feeling every now and then.

I don't know if this is a specifically Dad thing, but we have found he responds really well to praise. Not praise that makes him feel stupid or reminds him of his inabilities (though as time goes by and just managing to sit in a chair becomes a marvel so I can use these things a bit now as well) but I've noticed (and the rest of my family also has noticed) that if I/we take the time to say to him how much we admire him for the way he handles this disease, or on many occasion I tell him how proud of him I am, or that I am amazed at how smart he must be that he can still do the things he does despite what this disease is doing to him, he pretty much glows in response. So what I often do is I spend time trying to think of ways to turn a bad situation around, instead of it upsetting him and as a result upsetting me, I try to find the positive behaviour in it all.

For example, the other day Dad had a fall which he was quite distressed about, naturally, so what I did was tell him how he amazed me, he was so god damn tough, there ain't no messing with my Dad, not even a good whack to the cheek bone slows him down for long....and well he started to calm down and you can see the look of 'yeah I'm good, damn I'm good' in his eyes, which absolutely delights me! :D

Comments on things like, how good looking he is, what a big strong man he is, how intelligent, how hard he tries and so on also really make him puff up.

I'm explaining it and describing it quite poorly here...and I do have to admit that sometimes it is a challenge to try to think of something that doesn't sound condescending and you can't praise all day long because then it starts to mean nothing....but I think by praising Dad for things he does today, that tells him that he is still likable, still someone I'm proud of, which no doubt if he doesn't hear he probably doesn't realise and simply assumes that I am sticking around because I loved the old him.

Giving him this self esteem boost, about who he is today, and not who he was before...really really really is something I like to do. The warm feeling it brings to me, when I see him proud of himself today, puffed up and thinking he's pretty cool, some kind of Indianna Jones of dementia fighting....well its just terrific! :)

Mind you this is one plus of Dad's not being able to talk, it may be a little harder to have someone who can talk back accept such comments as easily, and its also one plus of Dad being aware of his illness...you can't tell someone who doesn't know they are any different from the past, how well they are doing in your eyes...I guess you can tell them however how proud you are of them nonetheless.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Hi Nat, couldn't agree more. I have always told Lionel how proud I am of him, how well he copes with his illness etc.

Whenever we speak of the day centre I take care to tell people that Lionel goes for me. This is something he can do and is in control of.

You are right, it would be so easy to speak condescendingly, but imagine how you would feel yourself. You have put it into words so well.

Good to read a really positive post. Love Connie :)


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Yes, I found a little bit of praise went a long way, when my mother was first doing things for herself again after she came out of hospital. The first time she ate a whole meal, the first time she made a cup of tea, the first time she dressed herself, without help etc. (But now she can't remember the time when she couldn't do those things.)


Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
That is a good thing to remember, thanks for sharing it. My Mom loves to be told she looks pretty but I hadn't thought to tell her that I'm proud of her. She doesn't acknowledge that she is sick so can't tell her I'm proud of the way she is handling it, but I will search for other things. Thanks for the suggestions!