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.
Tips To Prevent And Manage Aggressive Behavior In Dementia
The first step in managing and preventing aggressive behavior in dementia is to try and understand the patients needs or wants and ensure they are being taken care of. This means responding to hunger, thirst, tiredness, boredom, or other frustrations the patient may have. Here are some tips to help caregivers prevent and manage aggressive behavior.
- Make changes to how you approach situations
- Do not approach aggression with more aggression, try to be as calm as possible
- Avoid showing fear, anxiety, or alarm
- Avoid shouting and physical contact
- Reassure the patient and acknowledge their feelings
- Try not to take the behavior personally
- Maintain eye contact
- Have the patient listen to their favorite music
- Create social interaction and stimulation for the patient
- Have the patient reminiscence about the past they remember
- Have the patient exercise
If these tips are unsuccessful and you are finding that the aggressive behavior is worsening, you may want to speak with the patients doctor with regards to medications that can help control the behavior.
Dealing With Stubbornness In Parents Living With Dementia: 50 Expert Tips For Communicating Gaining Cooperation And Understanding Behavior
Caring for aging parents gives adult children peace of mind to know they are providing loving care. It also allows for them to make more memories and spend more time with parents in the final chapter of their lives. But caregiving is far from easy, especially when loved ones are diagnosed with dementia. Resisting care and general stubbornness are two hallmarks of dementia, and they are among the most common reasons that adult children look for help as caregivers.
If youre unsure how to deal with stubbornness in parents with dementia, youre not alone. Most family caregivers of loved ones with dementia struggle daily with getting them to the doctor, gaining their cooperation, convincing them to bathe and brush their teeth, and communicating with them. Read on for a comprehensive list of tips from other caregivers, medical professionals, gerontologists, and dementia experts. Tips are categorized and listed them alphabetically within each category, but are not ranked or rated in any way.
If you need help caring for a parent or a loved one with dementia at home, learn more about Seniorlinks coaching and financial assistance program for caregivers of Medicaid-eligible friends and family members.
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Your Superpowerpositive Eye Contact
Eye contact. This is a critical nonverbal communication tool with dementia. Eye contact is your superpower if you spend time with people whore experiencing dementia. You can use it to send instant messages of love, acceptance, gladness, and gratitudeeven when your hands are full and youre at a loss as to what to do next. You can use it to prevent your loved one from sinking into the anger, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings that result in combative or aggressive behaviors.
And the opposite is true, too. If you dont understand that eye contact is more necessary than usual with dementia, you are inadvertently communicating disinterest and lack of caring. People whore experiencing dementia are living in the three-second nowa place that lacks any previous messages of love, acceptance, and appreciation.
So, when you find yourself wondering how your loved one became so mean, angry, and unhappy, remember these tools that you have at your disposal and they do not. Remember that wetheir companionsare able to manage their moods while they are not. And that we can change what we are inadvertently communicating into messages of love and acceptance.
Tips For Communicating With Your Parent
- Avoid power struggles. Dont push, nag or harangue your parents. Making ultimatums will only get their backs up, and yelling, arguing or slamming doors could seriously damage the relationship. Laura Ellen Christian, 15 Expert Tips for When Your Aging Parents Won’t Listen, The Arbor Company Twitter:
- Ask about your loved one’s preferences. Does your loved one have a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved one’s wishes, it’s important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.
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We Can Manage Our Moodsthey Cannot Manage Theirs
When we are not experiencing dementia and find ourselves upset by an experience or situation, we can evaluate, compare, and consider. We can choose to avoid being in a bad mood and we can choose to not inflict it on our companions. For example, if Im late for an appointment and the car ahead of me is driving slower than the speed limit, I might feel irritated and frustrated but I have the skills necessary to change that feeling before it affects my mood. I can tell myself that Im late due to my own lack of planning, that other people cant be expected to hurry to accommodate me, and that its too nice a day to be in a bad mood. I can do that with my memory skills and my rational thinking skills and change the negativity Im beginning to feel back into a positive mood. But when were experiencing dementia, we cant do any of that.
So, with dementia in the picture, people cant help taking everything personally, and they lack the skills to change the moods that result when they feel hurt or betrayed or taken advantage of.But theres more to think about. It gets both worseand better. Theres a third truth which is the key to avoiding combative and aggressive behaviors with dementia. When we are experiencing dementia, we cannot choose our own moods.
Speak With A Care Advisor
Wondering how to support a loved ones goal of being able to age at home? Call a Care Advisor today at or and learn how home care can support your needs.
Always aim to simplify your surroundings when you notice signs of agitation. Move into a quieter space. A calm environment will often calm your loved one. Reducing the amount of non-essential items is a great way to increase feelings of calm in a home. Bright, distracting patterns and moving objects can confuse your loved one. One or two meaningful, personal pictures will offer a more calming environment than 20 frames.
Clutter causes your loved ones senses to live in overdrive. If they are constantly filtering out what is important and necessary, then their brain cant relax. Your loved one will not know what to focus on. Help to calm them by limiting the things that surround them. Clutter also makes it easier to lose important objects or not see something that is out in the open.
Lights are another stimulating presence. Particularly in the evenings and late afternoon. It is important to switch from bright overhead lights to smaller, dimmer lights as the sun goes down. The glare and reflections from lights off windows, mirrors or picture frames can be startling or even frightening for your loved one.
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Tips For Managing Dementia Wandering
The No. 1 priority is to keep your loved one safe, Hashmi says. He suggests the following actions:
- Secure all doors. Be especially vigilant about doors that lead outside.
- Use technology. Tracking devices and surveillance systems are widely available and affordable.
- Enlist a team. Neighborhood watch groups and local police are often happy to help keep an eye out for your loved one.
Do Not Get Angry Or Upset
When looking after persons with dementia, practicing self-control is of utter importance. Learn how to breathe in and just relax without taking things personally or getting angry and upset. Remember that dementia patients do not act the way they do out of their own accord. It is the illness that makes them behave the way they do.
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Mood Transferenceour Mood Becomes Their Mood
Think about this: If someone experiencing dementia cannot change their own moods, what happens when a caregiver arrives looking worried or concerned, or someone walks into the room in a bad mood? What happens is mood transference, because we need memory and rational thinking skills to protect ourselves from other peoples moodsand without those skills we can only absorb their moods and feel bad too.
Pros And Cons Of Facilities For Combative Dementia Patients
Some care facilities may seem like they are more exclusive, and therefore better, if they will deny certain kinds of patients. But that isnt necessarily true.
Its important to remember here that how a care facility deals with an aggressive resident will be a sign of its worth to you, and your loved one.
For example, if a care facility says they deal with aggression by using frequent and heavy sedation then this is probably not the ideal place. This is because they are not really dealing with the aggression but rather are just knocking the patient out so they cant do anything.
This may lead to questions like well, how do you know exactly how the facility deals with it when you are not there?
There are a few ways you can make sure you are choosing the right nursing home care for your loved one who may become aggressive as their dementia progresses.
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Dementia And Aggressive Behavior: Causes And Prevention Tips
Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onNovember 18, 2016
Some dementia patients may start exhibiting aggressive behavior as the disease progresses. There are different causes for behavioral changes in dementia which dont necessarily revolve around the disease itself. For example, behavioral changes may be associated with some sort of difficulty brought on by dementia, side effects of medications, changes in environment, social interactions, habits, and mental and physical health.
Aggressive behavior can be verbal or physical. In verbal aggressive behavior, patients may swear, scream, shout, or make threats. Physical aggressive behavior is when the patient hits, pinches, scratches, bites, or pulls hair.
Aggressive behavior may stem from the patients behavior prior to diagnosis, or it can develop as the disease progresses even if the patient wasnt aggressive before.
Dealing with aggressive behavior can be quite challenging for a caregiver and at times scary because they may feel threatened or worry about their own and the patients safety.
What Causes These Behaviours
There are many reasons why behaviours change. Every person with dementia is an individual who will react to circumstances in their own way. Sometimes the behaviour may be related to changes taking place in the brain. In other instances, there may be events or factors in the environment triggering the behaviour. In some instances a task may be too complex. Or the person may not be feeling well.
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Be Patient And Forgiving
It is important to remember that your loved ones aggression and is due to their illness and not their personality or your fault. While it can be stressful and frustration for the caregiver themselves, you should always remain calm and patient in front of your loved one. If they say or do something hurtful, ignore it because it is possible that they dont know who they are talking to or what they are saying. Instead, try to divert the attention to something less stress inducing. Do not judge them or treat them badly in any situation. Remember, it is not their fault, it is the illness.
Strategies To Calm Agitation From Dementia
Love in your relationship remains and can be your secret defense against agitation and aggression. Keeping these 10 strategies in mind can help strengthen your relationship. You can focus on the love you feel and continually build the bond you share.
Agitation and aggression are contagious. When you are talking to someone who is agitated and upset, it is natural to feel upset yourself. This phenomenon is called mirroring and you can use it to your benefit.
When you stop and take a deep breath to calm yourself, you are demonstrating calmness. This helps to make your loved one feel safe and reassured. Take a step back and see if you can identify a cause for the agitation, for example, a tense mood in the room. Remember that your loved one is not trying to give you a hard time he or she is struggling as much as you are.
Stop whatever you are doing and slow down. Listen to what your loved one is saying, even if it doesnt make sense! Dont correct, as that just increases the agitation. Take a deep breath and remember a positive memory you share with your loved one. Allow that warmth to enter your eyes and look directly at him or her. Smile gently and try to ask for permission for what you need to do or offer help. For example, can I help you wash the dishes? Calmness often reassures those with dementia. You can make a positive request like will you walk with me to the store?
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Five Ways To Help Identify The Causes Of Problem Behavior
Common Causes of Problem Behavior
Remove Triggers That Can Cause Aggression
Do you know that there are certain environmental factors that can trigger your loved one to become aggressive?
It could be anything from a certain conversation topic to a movie or even eating a certain food. This can be tough, but when it comes to dementia sometimes there isnt a logical reason for what causes this.
If there are certain triggers for your loved one, can the care facility remove them or minimize them so that your loved one isnt exposed to it all the time?
Many care homes that are really great with memory care recognize that each resident will need an individual care plan, especially when theyve progressed to needing around-the-clock care.
For memory care patients, removing these triggers and preventing aggressive episodes will be key in keeping them emotionally healthy.
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How To Deal With A Mean Dementia Patient*
Why is my mom so angry? Why does my husband blow up when I try to explain something?
Why does it feel like having dementia and being mean to family often go hand in hand? There is an answera way to avoid the anger that so often accompanies dementiabut its not a simple one. If it were, far fewer families would be dealing with combativeness and aggression when their loved ones develop dementia or Alzheimers. Like anything complex, this will take some explaining, so Ill write about this issue of anger and meanness with dementia in a series of articles .
The first step to having happier interactions and fewer episodes of aggression or combativeness with someone whos experiencing dementia is to understand why they may begin treating you badly.
Rummaging And Hiding Things
Caring for a patient who rummages around or hides things in the home can be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
|Rummaging/hiding things behavior management|
|Lock certain rooms or cabinets to protect their contents, and lock up all valuables.|
|Have mail delivered out of reach of your loved oneperhaps to a post office box.|
|If items do disappear, learn the persons preferred hiding places.|
|Restrict access to trashcans, and check all wastebaskets before disposing of their contents in case objects have been hidden there.|
|Protecting your loved one from harm|
|Prevent access to unsafe substances, such as cleaning products, alcohol, firearms, power tools, sharp knives, and medications.|
|Block unused electrical outlets with childproofing devices. Hide stove knobs so the person cant turn on the burners.|
|Lower the temperature on water heaters.|
|Designate a special drawer of items that the person can safely play with when keen to rummage.|
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