One of the leading conditions for seniors to experience is Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alz.com reports that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, with over 5 million Americans living with the disease (and that number is rising). The treatment of Dementia can be tricky and its symptoms and side effects can be complex. Particularly, challenging behavioral problems can arise in patients with mid-to-late stage dementia. Feelings such as anger, confusion, fear, paranoia, and sadness, which are often common in those suffering from the disease, can often escalate to aggressive or even violent actions. Here we will share some common situations and what you should and should not do if they arise while you are caring for your loved one.
Situation 1- Aggressive Actions, Speech, or Violence
In the instance that a loved one or family member displays aggressive behavior such as shouting or even a physical response as shoving, there are a few ways to handle the situation.
DO- Attempt to identify the cause. Figure out why they are acting that way and then try to de-escalate the situation. First, ensure they are not putting themselves or others in harm’s way. Then communicate calmly to shift their focus and help restore order.
DON’T- React in the same manner. The number one thing not to do in this situation is to react similarly and engage in confrontation. This behavior just fuels the fire and can create a bigger problem.
Situation 2 – Common Confusion
Dementia patients often begin to experience confusion and disorientation about everyday activities, people they interact with daily, and other normal situations.
DO- Respond to your loved one’s confusion with simple and calm explanations. Tangible items such as photos or videos can often help remedy the situation. Although in some cases, it is best to divert their attention to something else altogether.
DON’T- Use in-depth, lengthy explanations. It is difficult to reason with those who have Alzheimer’s or Dementia and trying to get them to understand can often cause even more confusion or be a trigger for worse behavior.
Situation 3 – Poor Judgment
Things such as hoarding, accusing another family member of stealing, or just generally acting out of character can be common instances for those with Dementia. These items that they used to not think twice about now seem to be a much bigger issue.
DO- Stay positive. The Alzheimer’s Association suggest being encouraging and reassuring in these situations. Offer to help them stay organized, which can help minimize frustrating situations for them.
DON’T- Outright question their ability to handle a situation or their reaction to it. This will just escalate the problem and cause further arguments.
At Harmony Home Care, we know how difficult and challenging it can be as a caregiver for those who are diagnosed with Dementia. If you need relief or your loved one is in need of a professional to provide them care, contact our team. The Harmony Home Care professionals are more than happy to serve those in need of caregiving assistance in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo counties. For daily tips, advice, and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.