Do Try And Identify The Trigger That Causes Behavior Change
After spending some time with a patient who has dementia, caregivers may be in a position to identify some of the things that make dementia sufferers yell, get physical, or change their mood. For some, it may be something simple such as taking a bath or even getting dressed.
The best approach to handle this is not to force the patient to do something that they do not want to do. Try and distract them with something else that allows them to relax and calm down. Once they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, try going back to the subject, but this time reassuringly and calmly.
What To Do If They Refuse To Let Go Of The Idea
Sometimes, your older adult will refuse to let go of the idea of going home, no matter how much you try to soothe or redirect.
If that happens, you might need to agree to take them home and then go for a brief car ride.
Experiment with how long it takes before you can take them home without protest. Or, suggest a stop at the ice cream shop, drugstore, or grocery store to distract and redirect.
If its not possible to actually take them out or get into the car, even going through the actions of getting ready to leave can still be soothing. This will shows that you agree with them and are helping to achieve their goal.
Meanwhile, the activities of getting ready give you more chances to distract and redirect to something else.
Keep in mind that not everything you try will work the first time. And even if something works once, it might not work the next time.
Do your best to stay calm, flexible, and creative this technique gets easier with practice.
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.
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What Are The Warning Signs That Life Is Nearing An End
When an elderly person with dementia is almost bearing their end, it can be very traumatic especially for the loved ones. It is important to have an idea of what signs one needs to expect when the end comes as this can give you some sort of comfort.
When you think of a condition such as Alzheimers disease, a person can live for over 10 years with it. It is possible to make the person happy over those years. Since we are not immortals, at some point life does come to an end when you have dementia and it is something that one needs to be prepared for especially if they are caregivers.
Handling the final stage of dementia is much easier, especially when you are aware of the things that you should expect. It is important to give the person the kind of care that will award him or her dignified and peaceful death.
Usually, when a person is about to reach the end, the dementia symptoms usually get worse and this can be quite upsetting. Some of the things that you may notice include:
- Limited mobility so they may have to be bed bound
- Limited speech or no speech at all
- Double incontinence
- Difficulties swallowing and eating
It is important to note that the above symptoms do not really mean that the person will just die. There are people who can have such symptoms for quite some time. You should also remember that about two-thirds of dementia patients succumb to other ailments such as pneumonia.
Some of the other signs that can indicate that death is indeed close include:
How These Findings Could Encourage Family Members
A recent survey conducted by the Alzheimers Association found that over 40% of respondents said it was pointless to stay in contact with a loved one after they are unable to recognize the faces of family and friends. Alzheimers advocates caution against this way of thinking and boast the many benefits that come from visiting with people who have advanced dementia.
Researchers from the latest study to investigate the lack of facial recognition in people with Alzheimers hope that their study helps family members better understand what is happening to their loved one.
They also hope that their findings will encourage families to look for new ways to delay the impairment of holistic perception and inspire new treatment methods.
Did you know that people with Alzheimers are unable to recognize their loved ones as the disease progresses? Have you experienced this among your family or loved ones? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments below.
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How To Handle Dementia And Racism
While some of the inappropriate things that come out of dementia patients mouths tend to be off the wall or even comical, other comments are deeply hurtful to those around them. These remarks are the product of interacting with the world as usual but without any social filters. A senior with cognitive impairment may comment on a persons attractiveness, weight, clothing, accent or even race. The first few items on this list can come across as downright rude, but offensive remarks about ones race or ethnicity cross a very serious line and must be addressed swiftly and sensibly by caregivers.
This is often an issue with elder care providers like in-home care agencies, adult day care centers and senior living communities where the comprehensive staff is comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and interacts with clients and residents on a regular basis. A dementia patient may comment on a persons race or ethnicity or even use racial slurs. While we dementia caregivers quickly learn to laugh off an odd statement or redirect repeated questions, these kind of remarks cannot be swept under the rug.
Do Not Ignore Physical Abuse
As much as one needs to be tolerant, kind, forgiving, and patient with older adults who have dementia, it does not mean that they have to excuse the patients when they become physically aggressive and allow the abuse to continue. It is not to be accepted, and if it happens, it is best to alert your doctor who will work on the solution to make sure it stops. It will keep both the patient and caregiver in safety.
From physical manifestations to angry outbursts, taking care of an individual with dementia may not be easy. However, working with the tips above can help caregivers and loved ones to get through it. Remember that there are plenty of treatments, interventions and special care providers who can help therefore, you should never be shy about getting help when you need it.
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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.
Preserving Your Loved Ones Independence
Take steps to slow the progression of symptoms. While treatments are available for some symptoms, lifestyle changes can also be effective weapons in slowing down the diseases progression. Exercising, eating and sleeping well, managing stress, and staying mentally and socially active are among the steps that can improve brain health and slow the process of deterioration. Making healthy lifestyle changes alongside your loved one can also help protect your own health and counter the stress of caregiving.
Help with short-term memory loss. In the early stages, your loved one may need prompts or reminders to help them remember appointments, recall words or names, keep track of medications, or manage bills and money, for example. To help your loved one maintain their independence, instead of simply taking over every task yourself, try to work together as a partnership. Let your loved one indicate when they want help remembering a word, for example, or agree to check their calculations before paying bills. Encourage them to use a notebook or smartphone to create reminders to keep on hand.
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Stage : Moderate Decline
During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning that you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might:
- Forget details about themselves
- Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
- Forget what month or season it is
- Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu
- Struggle to use the telephone
- Not understand what is said to them
- Struggle to do tasks with multiple steps like cleaning the house.
You can help with everyday chores and their safety. Make sure they aren’t driving anymore, and that no one tries to take advantage of them financially.
Do Offer Assurance Often
Many times, people with dementia may experience feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or confusion. They may not be able to express this in the right way and thus may wander off or keep saying that they want to go back home, especially if they are in a senior living facility. This is not the time to shut them out. Its a good idea to assure them that they are safe and in a good place.
If you are close enough, provide a comforting hug every once in a while and remind them that they are in a place that has their best interest at heart. Where possible, engage in exercise or take a walk as even light physical activity may help to reduce agitation, restlessness and anxiety.
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End Of Life Dementia Care And Covid
Older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Older adults also have the highest rates of dementia. Given the risks that older adults face from both COVID-19 and dementia, its important to understand how to protect yourself and your loved one. Find more information about dementia and COVID-19 from the CDC.
When a dementia like Alzheimers disease is first diagnosed, if everyone understands that there is no cure, then plans for the end of life can be made before thinking and speaking abilities fail and the person with Alzheimers can no longer legally complete documents like advance directives.
End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimers disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.
Consider Moving To A 55
Safety features, such as nonslip tubs, are already in place, and neighborsmay have loved ones in similar situations. Have more financial flexibility?Continuing-care retirement communities allow the person with dementia toaccess higher levels of care while a more active spouse can liveindependently on the same campus.
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Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- being confused about time and place
- mood changes
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.
Show Him You Know Who He Is
Particularly heartbreaking to me is the family member who waits by a loved ones bedside for some indicationthe slightest gesture or look to prove that a moment of clarity or recognition has occurred. I just want her to see me one more time. But the chance of being present for a moment of clarity is slim. How much better to spend our time at the bedside showing them that we know who they are, and filling their present with stories from happier times.
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Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient
Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.
Do Not Engage In Arguments
One of the worst things a person can do to an individual who has dementia is to start an argument or even force them to do something that makes them upset or angry. When the discussion or argument is too heated, it may be better to walk away to create an environment where everyone can remain calm. Experts agree that one of the ways that can yield results when it comes to dementia behavior problems is to get rid of the word no when dealing with patients. Avoid forcibly restraining a dementia sufferer at all costs.
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Why People With Alzheimers Are Unable To Recognize Their Loved Ones
As Alzheimers progresses, facial recognition and memories fade. When people with Alzheimers can no longer remember the faces of their loves ones, it can bring emotional hurt and turmoil, causing families to distance themselves.
A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease and led by Dr. Sven Joubert, PhD, a researcher at the Centre de Recherche de lInstitut Universitaire de Geriatrie de Montreal, and a professor with the Department of Psychology at Universite de Montreal, looked into why people with Alzheimers were no longer able to recognize the faces of their loved ones.
For the study, researchers recruited people with Alzheimers as well as people in good health, and analyzed their ability to perceive cars and faces in photos that were either upside down or right side up. Dr. Joubert summarized the teams findings stating:
It is important to note that holistic perception impairment is noticeable in the early stages of the disease.
Paranoia Delusion And Hallucinations
Distortions of reality, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations, can be another result of the disease process in dementia. Not everyone with dementia develops these symptoms, but they can make dementia much more difficult to handle.
Lewy body dementia, in particular, increases the likelihood of delusions and hallucinations, although they can occur in all types of dementia.
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Detecting Dementia And Infections
There is a major interplay between dementia and infections, and it can go in a couple of different directions.
A bad infection in an elderly person may not cause the typical symptoms that younger people often experience. In fact, it can create more mental symptoms than physical, mimicking dementia.
Recognizing the signs of an infection in an elderly person can point to a different illness causing their dementia symptoms. In this case, a heavy duty course of antibiotics may reverse their symptoms completely and restore their full mental function.
Knowing the signs of dementia, you can also see how a person faces a risk for contracting secondary infections. Dementia can cause infection in different ways.
A person with dementia may not even remember falling, leaving them unknowingly injured. Falls can lead to broken bones. Broken bones left alone can sometimes lead to infection.
Their cognitive state also puts them at risk for unknowingly developing more typical infections, such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections. As their mental state declines, they may find it more difficult to recognize changes in themselves.
This means that easy to treat illnesses may progress into something more serious before anybody detects them. This can threaten a persons life.
If you care for somebody who suffers from dementia, you should regularly watch them for signs of infection. These include: