A Michigan man with Alzheimer’s disease says he just wants his friends to visit, talk and joke like they normally would.

Alan Beamer, 66, explained in a tearful video posted to Facebook Sunday that people don’t visit him often enough and treat him differently when they do.

“I’m the same old person and I wish my friends could come up and just talk to me just like they did before, play and joke around,” he said in the video, which has been shared more than 400,000 times.

Beamer said that friends and family who do visit “don’t stay five minutes,” talk “around him” and bring up his illness when he’d rather not discuss that.

“I would love it if they came over and stayed over for a while and we could talk about what’s really happening behind the scenes,” he added.

Wife MaryBeth Beamer filmed the video, in which she added, “You may not feel comfortable coming to see Alan and it may break your heart, but if you truly loved him or loved us, you’d take a few minutes out of your busy days … and come.”

The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada says that friends and family may be reluctant to visit people with dementia, but there are ways to ease the anxieties. Here are some of their tips:

  • Arrange a convenient time for the visit: Choose a time that is best for the person with dementia. Shorten the visit if he shows signs of fatigue.
  • Communication is the key: Use gestures as well as words. Pace the conversation, allowing time for him or her to respond.
  • Introduce yourself: If he seems confused, identify yourself and say why you are there. "It's Jane. I came to visit you today."
  • Remember and laugh together: Recall humorous experiences you both shared. "I remember when we both..." Take pleasure in each moment.
  • Be prepared to listen: People with the disease may want to share their feelings. Remain open and sympathetic.
  • Establish connection through a common interest: Continue your favourite activity together. Listen to music. Take a walk. Concentrate on the person's talents and abilities.
  • Show that you care: We all communicate through emotion, expression and touch. Holding a hand, or smiling when you talk can convey more than words.
  • Create a visitor guest book: It can become difficult for a person with dementia to remember all the comings and goings in his or her day. By creating a visitor guest book, you can help them remember who has come to visit and how they spent their time together.