How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems
- How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts
Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.
You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.
In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.
Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.
Planning For The Future
- Talk to the person with dementia to make sure that they have a current up-to-date will that reflects their wishes.
- Encourage the person with dementia to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney so that a responsible person can make decisions on their behalf when they are no longer able to.
- Talk to the person with dementia about making an advance decision to refuse certain types of medical treatment in certain situations. It will only be used when the person with dementia has lost the capacity to make or communicate the decision in the future.
- If the person youre caring for has already lost the ability to make or communicate decisions but doesnt have an LPA, you can apply to the Court of Protection who can make decisions on behalf of that person or appoint someone else to do so.
If the person you care for drives, the law requires them to tell DVLA about their diagnosis. A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean someone has to stop driving straight away – what matters is that they can drive safely. Talking to the person you care for about stopping driving can be very sensitive.
Think About Your Body Language
Quality interaction isn’t just about what you say – gestures, movement and facial expressions can also help you get a message across and convey emotion. If they’re sitting, standing above them can be intimidating, for instance.
Take notice of their body language for clues about how comfortable they’re feeling with the conversation. Make sure to keep your tone of voice positive and friendly too.
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Common Frustrations & Difficulties
Communicating with a person with memory loss can be difficult, but the right strategies can bridge the gap and foster a more fulfilling relationship between the patient and/or loved one. For caregiverswhether you’re a professional or a family member caring for a loved oneits important to adopt a positive attitude to effectively communicate.
Engaging with patients and/or loved ones in an encouraging and patient manner will help minimize feelings of frustration. If you’re struggling to connect with a patient and/or loved one with memory loss, its important to know a few common frustrations and traps and how you can avoid them.
First, remind yourself that people with dementia and/or Alzheimers only have the present moment, so we can let them know that we enjoy their company. When caring for someone who has the disease, the most important thing to take care of is that persons feelings. A person with memory loss cant remember the minute before, they dont know whats going to happen in the next minute. They cant do that kind of thinking, so how they feel right now is the most important thing to pay attention to.
Remember That He Really Can’t Control His Behavior
When your family member or friend has dementia, it’s tempting to believe that they’re really not that bad off. This can be a protective tendency so that you don’t have to directly face the changes that dementia is making in your loved one’s life.
Sometimes, caregivers would almost prefer to believe that a loved one is being stubborn, rather than the fact that they have dementia. The problem with that belief is that then, it’s very easy to feel that they’re choosing to dig their heels in and just being difficult You may feel like they have “selective memory problems” or that they’re just trying to provoke you or make your day difficult by not getting dressed to go to a doctor’s appointment, for example.
Instead, remind yourself that dementia can affect personality, behavior, decision-making, and judgment. They’re not just being stubborn or manipulative they also have a disease that can sometimes control his behavior and emotions. This perspective can make it feel a little less personal when the day is not going well.
How To Test For Dementia
There is no single test that can determine a person is suffering from dementia. The doctor can diagnose different types of dementia such as Alzheimers based on their medical history.
This has to be done very carefully. In addition, the doctor may conduct laboratory tests, physical examinations, and changes in the way the patient thinks.
When all things are considered carefully, a doctor can be able to determine that a person is actually suffering from dementia with certainty. Determining the type of dementia can be hard, especially due to the fact that brain changes and symptoms that are associated with the different types of dementias sometimes overlap.
It is normal for the doctor to give a diagnosis of dementia without really specifying the type. In such a case, it is important for the patient to visit a specialist in this area like a psychologist or neurologist for a more specific diagnosis.
Things About Dementia People Wish They’d Known Earlier
Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrases, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” or “Ignorance is bliss.” While that may be true some of the time, it’s often not accurate when coping with dementia. Having worked with thousands of people impacted by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, I can testify to the fact that there are definitely things that, as caregivers, they wish they would have known earlier about dementia. Here they are.
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An Overview Of Latestage Dementia
The patient reaching thisstage has probably suffered for a long time. Although they have family andloved ones who care for them from the beginning, the disease needs to betackled carefully now. At this stage, every day is a new trauma, and its like afresh goodbye to the brilliant, amazing and sparkling person that the suffereronce was. This stage can be incredibly straining for the carers, and they mayend up neglecting their own health needs.
Thereupon, experts recommendcaretakers to keep a keen eye at the changing actions of the patient. Behaviorssuch as rare talking and denial to recognize the nearest ones are the warningsigns that the patient is soon dying from dementia. To elaborate further, hereare four symptoms of late-stage dementia:
How To Help With Poor Judgment
The deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimers disease can lead to poor judgment and errors in thinking. Some of these symptoms are obvious and apparent, such as hoarding household items, accusing a family member of stealing, or forgetting how to do routine tasks.
Some signs are more subtle, making it difficult for your aging loved one to realize theyre struggling. If youre curious and dont want to ask, take a look at a heating bill, suggests Mariotto. Sometimes payments are delinquent, or bills arent being paid at all.
Its important to minimize frustration and embarrassment for dementia patients, so know what works for your loved one and incorporate it into your caregiving strategy.
- Listen and offer subtle help.
- Work together to fix the problem.
- Simplify a task or routine by breaking it down into smaller steps.
This is what Napoletan did for her mother: As I sifted through records to complete her tax return, I gently mentioned noticing a couple of overdraft fees and asked if the bank had perhaps made a mistake. As we talked through it, she volunteered that she was having more and more difficulty keeping things straight, and knew she had made some errors. She asked if I would mind helping with the checkbook going forward. I remember her being so relieved after we talked about it. From there, over time, Napoletan was gradually able to gain more control over her mothers finances.
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Do You Tell Dementia Patients The Truth
Honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to someone with Alzheimers or dementia. Thats because their brain may experience a different version of reality. Dementia damages the brain and causes progressive decline in the ability to understand and process information.
Do Try To Be Pleasant
Caregivers are also humans who are prone to emotions like anger, stress, impatience, and irritation. Even when one goes through caregiver burnout, it is best that the patient does not get wind of it. It is better to step out of the room and try some breathing exercises to calm down before going back to deal with the dementia patient. Where possible, shelve the bad feelings and try and deal with them later. Dementia patients deal with a lot and they do not need more on their plate if they are to lead fulfilling and happy lives.
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Understand Why Someone With Dementia Says Mean Things
First, its important to understand why this hurtful behavior is happening.
Dementia is a brain disease that causes parts of the brain to shrink and lose their function, resulting in cognitive impairment.
These different parts control functions like memory, personality, behavior, and speech. Dementia also damages the ability to control impulses, which means actions arent intentional.
Even though its difficult, do your best to remember that they truly dont intend the mean things they say.
These mean comments and hurtful accusations often happen because the person is unable to express whats actually bothering them.
Working to accept the fact that theyre not doing this on purpose helps reduce stress and makes their behavior easier to manage.
The overall strategy is to take a deep breath, remind yourself that its not personal, take care of immediate discomfort or fear, and try to find the cause behind the behavior.
Next, look for long-term solutions that will help you get the support and rest you need to keep your cool in challenging situations like these.
Early Warning Signs Of Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people worldwide have dementia and 10 million new cases are revealed every year. So by 2030 82 million people are expected to have some form of dementia. As these numbers continue to grow it is important to recognize the symptoms of dementia.
- Memory Loss
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What Do Elderly People Think About Life And Death
As we get older, death seems to be nearer than when we are younger. In as much as anyone can die regardless of age, for an older person, it seems like it is more likely to happen, especially when dealing with different health conditions that the body does not handle as it used to in the younger years.
For older persons, death does not always spell sorrow and terror, as is the case with younger people. Many of the older people are contented with what the short-term future has for them. You may think that people may get anxious as they become older, but this is not the case. Older people do not have much sadness and anxiety, especially related to death. They are actually more positive about life and death.
As we grow older, our perspective shifts. This is when you realize that things are not as they always seem. Most people fear death because they feel that they will lose the things that they have been working so hard to get over the years. However, for older people, this attachment to things acquired is not really pronounced. This is how some of the fear of death actually melts away.
When you look around you and you realize that there are things that are a part of you that will outlive you actually help in a major way. This could be the legacy we have in children or gardens planted. There are yet others who place value on their country, their religion, or families that live on even after they are gone.
Arguments For Limited Truth
Arguments for limited disclosure and deception quoted by Beauchamp and Childress include the following.
Honesty should not be confused with cruel openness, and if disclosure of the information seems to be harmful to the patient, the physician may be justified in withholding the information or even in using benevolent deception. The therapeutic privilege has a long tradition in medical practice, although more recently it has been criticized as an example of unacceptable paternalism. Misleading the patient contributes to the cult of expertise surrounding the medical profession and to a view of physicians not as providing a service, but as guardians of a special wisdom that they may determine when, and to whom, to divulge. However, paternalism frequently appears to be unavoidable in dementia care, and some professionals still defend telling lies to cognitively impaired patients. After all, anxiety, depression, and catastrophic and psychotic reactions do occur as the result of disclosure, and even suicides committed by patients unable to live with the burden have been reported.
Patients are not able to understand the information
Some patients do not want to know the truth about their condition
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S For Communicating With Someone With Dementia
- Keep yourself in the persons eyeline, and try not to suddenly appear from the side or from behind
- Speak clearly and in short sentences
- If the person is struggling to recognise you, introduce yourself and tell them about the connection between you, for instance: Hello mum, its Julie and I have little Danny, your grandson with me.
- Be reassuring look the person in the eye and smile
- If a person with dementia is getting agitated, take yourself to another room for a few minutes before coming back in, calmly, and saying something like: Hello, Im back now, how lovely to see you.
- Try not to correct the person if they get your name wrong or say something that isnt true this can lead to distress and frustration on all sides. Try to imagine how the person with dementia is feeling
Remember, not being recognised does not mean you are totally forgotten.
Have The Difficult Conversations About Medical Decisions And Choices
It can, understandably, be very hard to think about an uncertain future after a dementia diagnosis. You may need some time to absorb and process the information.
However, instead of avoiding the uncomfortable conversation about medical decisions and power of attorney documents, take the time to discuss these important choices. Have that talk with your loved one who has dementia sooner rather than later . Why? Not having to guess about medical decisions and personal preferences can afford you with much more peace of mind, knowing that you are honoring their choices.
‘do You Recognise Me’
It can be distressing when somebody with dementia doesnt recognise you, but remember that the feeling is mutual. Asking the person if they know who you are can make them feel guilty if they don’t remember, or offended if they do.
Try this instead:
The way you greet somebody with dementia might change depending on the stage of their condition judge for yourself, but keep it friendly. A warm hello could suffice, or it may help to say your name.
A Person With Dementia Feels Confused More And More Often When They Cant Make Sense Of The World Or Get Something Wrong They May Feel Frustrated And Angry With Themselves They May Become Angry Or Upset With Other People Very Easily They Might Not Be Able To Say Why They May Not Know Why
Everyone feels confused sometimes. Its the feeling you get when things dont make sense, or you dont know what you should be doing.
If someone seems angry with you, it can feel horrible. Remember that its not your fault, and its not their fault. It happens because the persons brain is not well. They may not be able to control their emotions any more. They may not be able to put themselves in your shoes, and realise they are upsetting you.
People with dementia can still feel nice feelings, too. They can feel happy, safe and calm. Some people with dementia may seem like their usual self almost every day and you may only notice small changes every now and then. Some people with dementia may not have as many good days. Those days when they do feel more like their old self can be particularly special.
Everyone with dementia is different. Dont be afraid to ask questions. If the person you know has not been ill for very long, they may be able to tell you what dementia feels like for them.
A person who has had dementia for longer may not be able to tell you how they feel. But you can learn to recognise when they are feeling happy, safe and calm.
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