How To Cope With Common Changes In Behaviour
Although changes in behaviour can be difficult to deal with, it can help to work out if there are any triggers.
- Do some behaviours happen at a certain time of day?
- Is the person finding the home too noisy or cluttered?
- Do these changes happen when a person is being asked to do something they may not want to do?
Keeping a diary for 1 to 2 weeks can help identify these triggers.
If the change in behaviour comes on suddenly, the cause may be a health problem. The person may be in pain or discomfort from constipation or an infection.
Ask a GP for an assessment to rule out or treat any underlying cause.
Keeping an active social life, regular exercise, and continuing activities the person enjoys, or finding new ones, can help to reduce behaviours that are out of character.
Read more about activities for dementia.
Other things that can help include:
- providing reassurance
- activities that give pleasure and confidence, like listening to music or dancing
- therapies, such as animal-assisted therapy, music therapy, and massage
Remember also that it’s not easy being the person supporting or caring for a person with behaviour changes. If you’re finding things difficult, ask for support from a GP.
Ways To Calm An Aging Loved One With Dementia
By Zareena Khan 9 am on January 30, 2019
Aggressive behaviors, both verbal and physical, are common in seniors with dementia. These behavioral changes can occur instantly, for no reason at all. As a family caregiver, you need to calm your frustrated loved one without making the situation worse. Here are some of the ways you can calm an aging parent with dementia.
Alzheimers Care Challenges: Handling Dementia & Anger
Handling anger is one of the biggest challenges when caring for a person whos suffering from Alzheimers or another form of dementia. While almost everybody shows some form of aggression every now and again, Alzheimers and dementia can make anger issues much worse or develop anger issues in people who previously had none. Studies show that anger issues generally worsen the more severe an Alzheimers or dementia sufferers condition becomes.
Managing anger in dementia sufferers can be difficult. It may often mean reacting against your first instincts, but proper anger and dementia strategies can make care much easier for loved ones and caregivers alike.
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The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care
Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.
As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.
For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.
Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.
Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.
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.
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At What Point Do Dementia Patients Need 24 Hour Care
When living at home is no longer an option There may come a time when the person living with Alzheimers disease or dementia will need more care than can be provided at home. During the middle stages of Alzheimers, it becomes necessary to provide 24-hour supervision to keep the person with dementia safe.
Techniques For Promoting Calm In The Moment
If the person with dementia does start to become upset, there are some methods you can try to help them feel calmer. These are:
- Try, yourself, to remain calm. A person with dementia might say something upsetting to you, often when they themselves are upset.
- Take five or ten seconds think about what youre going to say, before you reply
- Keep a calm and steady tone of voice
- Try and maintain eye contact with that person
You know the person with dementia best. This means you are best placed to know what will give them reassurance. Not everything will work for everyone, but some things you can try include:
- giving the person a hug
- playing some music they love
- sitting and holding their hand
- offering them a cup of tea
- changing the scenery and proposing you both go into a different room
Sometimes, none of these tips will work. And sometimes, it might seem like the more actively you try to calm the person down, the more upset they become. It can help to acknowledge that they are upset and then give them some space perhaps go into a different room for five or ten minutes if it is appropriate to do so.
In this video, Admiral Nurse Gayle Madden share some tips to help the person with dementia feel more at ease, which might make them less inclined to want to leave the house.
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How To Deal With Manipulation
Your loved one may have lost the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehoods, and they may no longer have a sense of morality around lying. These symptoms can be especially difficult for a caregiver to handle, as it may feel like a complete change in personality. In fact, a person with dementia may not realize theyre lying.
Manipulation is often the root behavior for trust, control, and security. Sometimes, it can even be a cry for help.
- Set limits when possible.
- Remain aware of your personal responses. Do you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated? Acting on these emotions can bring more distress to an already stressful situation.
- Hold dementia behaviors against your loved one.
- Bring up events to prove or disprove statements.
- Use accusatory language such as youre lying or youre being manipulative.
- Engage in heated arguments.
Dealing with dementia behaviors can quickly wear out a caregiver or family member. If you care for a person with dementia and are feeling resentment, anxiety, or depression, dont hesitate to seek help. A caregiver support group, counselor, friend, or family member can offer camaraderie and advice.
How To Handle Aggressive Or Combative Behavior
A lot of times, aggression is coming from pure fear, says Tresa Mariotto, a social services supervisor in Bellingham, Washington, and certified trainer in dementia and mental health. People with dementia are more likely to hit, kick, or bite in response to feeling helpless or afraid. Managing aggression can be stressful for both you and your loved one.
- Try to identify the behaviors cause.
- Keep your tone light and supportive.
- Redirect your loved one by involving them in another activity or conversation.
- Remove your loved one from surroundings or environments that may be overstimulating during an outburst.
This is where truly knowing your loved one is so important, says Ann Napoletan, writer at the blog The Long and Winding Road: An Alzheimers Journey and Beyond. In my moms case, she didnt like to be fussed over. If she was upset, oftentimes, trying to talk to her and calm her down only served to agitate her more. Likewise, touching her even to try and hold her hand or gently rub her arm or leg might result in her taking a swing. The best course of action, in that case, was to walk away and let her have the space she needed.
Natural reactions to dementia behaviors can be ineffective or make the situation worse.
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Ways To Communicate With A Person With Dementia
- Stand or sit where the person can see and hear you as clearly as possible usually this will be in front of them, and with your face well-lit. Try to be at eye-level with them, rather than standing over them.
- Be as close to the person as is comfortable for you both, so that you can clearly hear each other, and make eye contact as you would with anyone.
- Communicate clearly and calmly.
Keep Up With Their Medications
Keeping up with their medications will help you not to forget the doses they need and the times they need to take them. You can purchase a daily pill box to keep you and them on track. Also, if you need to let doctors know what they have been taking and when it will be much easier to remember if you already have them listed. This is also good so that they arent mixing certain medications together which could be harmful.
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At What Age Is Alzheimer’s Usually Diagnosed
Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimer’sthose who have the late-onset varietysymptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s begin between a person’s 30s and mid-60s.
Dealing With Dementia Behavior: Wandering
Two characteristic precursors to wandering are restlessness and disorientation. An Alzheimers patient may exhibit signs of restlessness when hungry, thirsty, constipated, or in pain. They may also become disoriented, pace, or wander when bored, anxious or stressed due to an uncomfortable environment or lack of exercise. As well as adding physical activity to your loved ones daily routine, you can:
- Immediately redirect pacing or restless behavior into productive activity or exercise.
- Reassure the person if they appear disoriented.
- Distract the person with another activity at the time of day when wandering most often occurs.
- Reduce noise levels and confusion. Turn off the TV or radio, close the curtains, or move the patient to quieter surroundings.
- Consult the doctor as disorientation can also be a result of medication side effects, drug interactions, or over-medicating.
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How Can I Take Care Of My Husband With Dementia
A website that offers a brain test for dementia is a great resource that helps caregivers like yourself find support, so you can continue taking care of your spouse. But there are a lot of resources available online for those caring for someone with dementia. AARP offers various services for dementia caregivers.
Right now, my wife is caring for her Dad who has dementia. In his case, after decades of not caring for himself due to alcohol and drug abuse, and successfully beating throat cancer , it appears that cirrhosis of the liver is what is driving his dementia.
Repetitive Speech Or Actions
People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.
- Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
- Try distracting with a snack or activity.
- Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
- Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
- You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
- Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.
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Dont Neglect Your Own Needs
By always focusing so diligently on your loved ones needs throughout the progression of their dementia, its easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own welfare. If youre not getting the physical and emotional support you need, you wont be able to provide the best level of care, and youre more likely to become overwhelmed and suffer burnout.
Plan for your own care. Visit your doctor for regular checkups and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of excessive stress. Its easy to abandon the people and activities you love when youre mired in caregiving, but you risk your health and peace of mind by doing so. Take time away from caregiving to maintain friendships, social contacts, and professional networks, and pursue the hobbies and interests that bring you joy.
How To Manage Repeated Questions And Confusion
Asking questions over and over again, as well as not being able to understand why things are happening are symptoms and behaviors that come with dementia, according to the American Psychological Association.
- Communicate with simple, direct language.
- Use photos and other tangible items as props to explain situations.
- Remain calm and supportive.
- Use tools such as alarms, calendars, and to-do lists to help them remember tasks.
- Rely on lengthy explanations and reasoning, as this may further overwhelm your family member.
Tips To Ease Alzheimers Aggression
Once you understand the triggers for Alzheimerâs aggression, you can take steps to prevent it. A few things to try:
Rely On Family Members To Assist
If you have family members that are willing to assist you so that you dont overwhelm yourself, rely on them on certain days. Make a schedule that works for everyone so that you all can take turns with your loved one. That tip alone can help your family out tremendously.
Living with Alzheimers is not easy and taking care of someone with Alzheimers is just as challenging. Stay informed about the disease and find support when you can.
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When Did My Husband Get Diagnosed With Dementia
My husband had a diagnosis of Alzheimers 15 years before he died. Over that course of time there is no doubt that our relationship changed. It had to. We were lucky that the decline was slow but gradually I became more and more of a carer. For me that never detracted from the fact that I was his wife first and foremost and I always loved him.
Care Community My 90 years old Aunt is in the final stages of dementia and is now at the stages of neither eating or drinking without a high level of Prompting.
Although they purport to be Specialists in Dementia Care, they are very poor. Currently in a Leicester hospital because she contracted what the care home called a Mild Chest Infection the Consultant at the hospital, however, classified it as Pneumonia she is recovering but is now approaching End of Life stages.
Coping With Changes In Behavior And Personality
As well as changes in communication during the middle stages of dementia, troubling behavior and personality changes can also occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.
Often, these behavioral issues are triggered or exacerbated by your loved ones inability to deal with stress, their frustrated attempts to communicate, or their environment. By making some simple changes, you can help ease your loved ones stress and improve their well-being, along with your own caregiving experience.
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