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How To Deal With Dementia Patients

Five Ways To Help Identify The Causes Of Problem Behavior

How to Deal with Aggressive Dementia Patients (4 Strategies)
  • Look at your loved ones body language and imagine what they might be feeling or trying to express.
  • Ask yourself, what happened just before the problem behavior started? Did something trigger the behavior?
  • Are the patients needs being met? Is your loved one hungry, thirsty, or in pain?
  • Does changing the environment by introducing favorite music, for example, help to comfort the person?
  • How did you react to the problem behavior? Did your reaction help to soothe the patient or did it make the behavior worse?
  • Common Causes of Problem Behavior

    Decide On Future Financial And Medical Plans With The Patient

    It is important to get clarity on how to cope as time progresses and the dementia worsens. You should have clear plans worked out on who will manage the banking and financial affairs of the individual. Share your number with the utility company, informing them of the condition of your loved one, so that power supply or heating isnt cut off if they forget to pay their bills. Also do the difficult task of discussing which medical treatments they would prefer not to be subjected to, should the need arise at a future date.15 This legal document is known as an advance care directive and details what health decisions can be made on their behalf if they are no longer capable of doing so.16

    Take A Break From Caring

    Taking regular breaks can help you to look after yourself and better support you in caring for someone with dementia.

    Family and friends may be able to provide short breaks for you to have time “just for you”.

    Other options include:

    • day centres social services or your local carers’ centre should provide details of these in your area
    • respite care this can be provided in your own home or for a short break in a care home

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    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.

    DONT:

    The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care

    How to deal with repetitive questions of dementia patients ...

    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.

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    Deal With Personal Hygiene And Incontinence

    Urinary tract infections, incontinence, constipation these are just some issues the elderly have to deal with. Add to that the tendency to forget the need to go to the toilet or even where the toilet actually is, and a person with dementia has even more trouble. Prominently signpost the toilet with a board of some kind, keep the door open for easy access, and ensure the person with dementia has clothes that are quickly removed using a zipper instead of buttons helps. When it comes to personal hygiene, the fear of falling or becoming disoriented might keep someone from washing regularly. Some patients may allow a caregiver to help with this or be present when they are bathing.14

    Stage : Moderate Dementia

    Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.

    While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.

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    Do Not Try And Alter Undesirable Behavior

    Lack of understanding may push one to try and change or stop any undesirable behavior from patients who have dementia. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to teach new skills or even reason with the patient. Try instead to decrease frequency or intensity of the behavior. For instance, respond to emotion and not the changes in behavior. If a patient insists on always asking about a particular family member reassure them that he or she is safe and healthy as a way of keeping them calm and happy.

    Tips For Communicating With Your Parent

    Dealing with dementia patients
    • 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.
  • Don’t fire off questions or ask complicated questions. First off, don’t pepper elders with questions or complicated choices. Instead of saying, Do you have to use the bathroom? say, We are going to the bathroom. If the word shower upsets them, don’t use it. Come with me, you say, and you end up at the shower. If someone with dementia is frightened, acknowledge it and say, You are safe with me. I’ll protect you. After they’re calmer, you can try to get them to do something. The one question that people with dementia often respond to is this: I really need your help. Can you help me with this?” Stacey Burling, They’re Not Just Stubborn: How to Get People with Dementia to Participate, Philly.com Twitter:
  • 6 Ways To Handle Stubbornness In Seniors, Alternatives for Seniors Twitter:
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    The Seven Stages Of Dementia

    One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.

    Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.

    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.

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    Kind Calming Ways To Respond To I Want To Go Home

    These suggestions will put you on the right track, but its a good idea to get creative and come up with responses that are tailored for your older adults history, personality, and preferences.

    1. Reassure and comfort to validate their needsSometimes saying I want to go home is how your older adult tells you theyre tense, anxious, scared, or in need of extra comfort.

    Approach your older adult with a calm, soothing, and relaxed manner. If you remain calm, it often helps them calm down too.

    If they like hugs, this is a good time for one. Others may prefer gentle touching or stroking on their arm or shoulder or simply having you sit with them.

    Another way of giving extra comfort and reassurance is to give them a soothing blanket, therapy doll, or stuffed animal.

    2. Avoid reasoning and explanationsTrying to use reason and logic isnt recommended when someone has a brain disease. It will only make them more insistent, agitated, and upset.

    Dont try to explain that theyre in their own home, assisted living is now their home, or they moved in with you 3 years ago.

    They wont be able to process that information and will feel like youre not listening, you dont care, or that youre stopping them from doing something thats important to them.

    3. Validate, redirect, and distractBeing able to redirect and distract is an effective dementia care technique. Its a skill that improves with practice, so dont feel discouraged if the first few attempts dont work perfectly.

    Try To Understand Their Point Of View

    How to deal with the tendency of dementia patients to ask ...

    It can be difficult to accept the ageing process. Add to that the effects of dementia that your loved one is facing, and you can see how hard their life has become. Its best to approach discussions about securing care with compassion. Do your best to present facts about how this support will benefit not only your elderly loved one but also fellow family members. They may find comfort in hearing about how dementia caregivers will provide help with medication, chores, grooming and more all of which will help them to live a healthy life while staying at home.

    Ask What Support They Need

    Since everyones needs are different, your loved ones dementia may cause them to need support in some areas and not others. For example, they may need assistance with getting to and from their medical appointments but are still able to bathe and groom themselves daily. By collaborating with your loved one, you can arrange a care plan that provides support in areas where they need it most.

    Practise Your Patience

    Patients with dementia may have a wandering mind that makes it difficult for them to focus. As you talk about care options, be calm and patient as it may take time for them to really hear what you are saying. When they change the topic, engage in conversation and gently try to bring chatter back to discussing their care. A calm and comfortable environment for their conversations can also help to put the patient at ease.

    Present More Than One Option

    Take Your Time

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    Dont Counter Aggressive Behavior

    People with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s may become aggressive in response to the environment. Bath time is often when the aggressive behavior is displayed. The caregivers and/or family member’s approach may also play a part. Rushing, speaking harshly, or forcing a person may result in an aggressive response. When someone with memory loss displays aggressive behavior, it is a form of communication. It may be the only way a person has left to say, Pay attention to me! I don’t want to take a bath! When someone is communicating vigorously, it is the caregivers and/or family member’s job to respect that communication. Hitting, kicking, or biting are ways of saying, stop. The appropriate response is to stop. That doesnt mean not to try again in five minutes or a half an hour.

    Other Factors That Can Affect Behavior

    In addition to changes in the brain, other things may affect how people with Alzheimers behave:

    Other problems in their surroundings may affect behavior for a person with Alzheimers disease. Too much noise, such as TV, radio, or many people talking at once can cause frustration and confusion. Stepping from one type of flooring to another or the way the floor looks may make the person think he or she needs to take a step down. Mirrors may make them think that a mirror image is another person in the room. For tips on creating an Alzheimers-safe home, visit Home Safety and Alzheimers Disease.

    If you dont know what is causing the problem, call the doctor. It could be caused by a physical or medical issue.

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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.

    DONT:

    • 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.

    Although there are no treatments to stop dementia behaviors in the elderly, there are medications, dementia therapies, and memory care communities that may help.

    What Support Is Available For Me If I Care For Someone With Dementia

    Changes in Personality and Behavior of A Dementia Patient

    When youre caring for someone else, its easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and cope better with your caring role.

    Caring for someone with dementia may lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it can be difficult to share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated.

    Its important to acknowledge these feelings, and theres no right or wrong way to feel. If youre feeling anxious, depressed or struggling to cope stressed, talk to your doctor who can let you know about help and support available to you.

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    Stage : Mild Dementia

    At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

    • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
    • Disorientation
    • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

    In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

    How You Can Help

    Let the person help with everyday tasks, such as:

    • shopping

    These can lead to increased confusion and make the symptoms of dementia worse.

    Common food-related problems include:

    • forgetting what food and drink they like
    • refusing or spitting out food
    • asking for strange food combinations

    These behaviours can be due to a range of reasons, such as confusion, pain in the mouth caused by sore gums or ill-fitting dentures, or difficulty swallowing.

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