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How To Deal With Someone With Dementia

Ways To Deal With False Dementia Accusations

How to Talk to Someone With Dementia

1. Dont take it personallyRemember that your older adult is only making these accusations because of their declining cognitive abilities.

Theyre trying to make sense of their reality as best they can.

Do your best to stay calm and not to take these accusations personally. Focus on reassuring them and showing that you care about how theyre feeling.

2. Dont argue or use logic to convinceIts important not to argue or use logic to convince someone with dementia that theyre wrong.

You simply cant win an argument with someone whose brain no longer processes logic properly. And arguing will only make them upset and more insistent.

Instead, let them express their ideas, feelings, and opinions. It will be easier to calm and distract them if they feel heard and validated.

3. Use a calm, soothing tone and positive body languageWhen responding to someone who is worked up over something they strongly believe, its essential to stay calm.

Bring the adrenaline level of the situation down by speaking in a gentle, calm tone of voice.

4. Create a calm environmentCreating a calm environment is another way to reduce the tension in the situation.

Reduce noise and commotion by turning off the TV, asking other people to leave the room, or playing slow songs or classical music at a low volume.

Aromatherapy is another way to create a soothing environment.

When you respond to their accusations, keep your responses short and simple.

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.

Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

Keep Up Social Connections Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Help

Things like music therapy or just playing some pleasing, quiet music, a massage, or exercise can help the mood and behavior of some people with dementia. Unfortunately, the research on these alternative therapies is not far-reaching enough to suggest them as treatment or therapy for dementia patients, but you could see if these work for your loved one.

Encourage people to visit and meet with the patient. Sometimes the embarrassment or fear of others seeing the changed behavior, personality, and memory of the individual can be discouraging when it comes to having visitors. Overcome this, because these relationships are crucial. Keep up their routines and hobbies and interests as much as possible. If they were a weekly church-goer, go to church with them. If they liked walking in the park every evening, they should continue to do so, but with someone to help them if they forget their way home. Keep up as much of a semblance of normalcy as you can. As one study found, the impact this can have is huge! Researchers found that dementia patients who indulged in as little as 60 minutes of conversation every week which translates to an average of 8.5 minutes a day saw reduced agitation levels. This also cut down the perception of pain they were living with.

Second Its Good To Be Aware Of The Way You Usually Express Your Anger:

Tips on how to deal with dementia patients
  • Aggressively  such as yelling, talking over the other person, arguing, bossing, criticizing, shoving, hitting
  • Passive aggressively  such as taking longer to do things, abruptly hanging up the phone
  • Passively  such as not responding, withdrawing
  • Assertively stating your opinion, needs, or wishes while being respectful of the other person

When a caregiver loses their temper and becomes aggressive toward the person who has dementia or others, this is a warning sign that they have lost control, need help, and may need to take time off from caregiving responsibilities. And if the behavior becomes abusive or neglectful, then Adult Protective Services will need to get involved. On the other end of the spectrum, unexpressed anger can sometimes result in caregiver depression, which can also be dangerous and affect the health and wellbeing of the caregiver.

Maintain Positive Healthy Relationship

Before you sign up as a caregiver, you must understand that at times the job can be harsh. It is, therefore, your duty to try and maintain a positive relationship with the person with the memory illness since there isnt much they can do to control the situation.

Come up with creative ways to support the relationship so that both of you are happy.

This can include doing things such as creative activities like music and , reminiscence, shared hobbies, or life story work.

Create Time For Reflection

As you are planning activities, it is vital to have some time for reflection.

This is particularly important in the early stages when the person has been diagnosed with dementia since most people usually have a hard time accepting the new developments.

Alter expectations and be ready to deal with fresh challenges with each new stage of the illness. Caregivers also need to find the strength to celebrate successes and mourn losses.

Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia

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A caregiver, sometimes referred to as a caretaker, refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Millions of people living in the United States take care of a friend or family member with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the person or nearby, other times they live far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia isnt just one persons job, but the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. No matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can be overwhelming at times. These tips and suggestions may help with everyday care and tasks.

Dealing With Dementia: Tips For Communicating

Tips for dealing with people with dementia

Dementia is a biological brain disorder that progressively makes simple tasks very difficult for people. With memory and communication being two of the hardest-hit abilities in these patients, its critical to know how to communicate properly with them, making it a little easier for everyone involved. Here are a few things caregivers can do to help facilitate better communication with dementia patients.

Caregiving In The Middle Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As your loved ones Alzheimers disease or dementia symptoms progress, theyll require more and more careand youll need more and more support as their caregiver. Your loved one will gradually experience more extensive memory loss, may become lost in familiar settings, no longer be able to drive, and fail to recognize friends and family. Their confusion and rambling speech can make communicating more of a challenge and they may experience disturbing mood and behavior changes along with sleep problems.

Youll need to take on more responsibilities as your loved one loses independence, provide more assistance with the activities of daily living, and find ways of coping with each new challenge. Balancing these tasks with your other responsibilities requires attention, planning, and lots of support.

Ask for help. You cannot do it all alone. Its important to reach out to other family members, friends, or volunteer organizations to help with the daily burden of caregiving. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day to pursue your hobbies and interests and stay on top of your own health needs. This is not being neglectful or disloyal to your loved one. Caregivers who take regular time away not only provide better care, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.

Ways To Reduce And Manage Mean Dementia Behavior

1. Calm the situation downThe first thing to do is reduce the tension in the room.

Start by limiting the distractions in the room, like turning off the TV or asking others to leave.

And if you stay calm, theyre also more likely to calm down. 

It might help you to count to 10 or even leave the room for a short time to cool down. Repeat to yourself its the disease as a reminder that theyre not intentionally doing this.

If the current activity seemed to cause the agitation, try shifting to a more pleasant, calming activity. Or, try soft music or a gentle massage.

2. Comfort and reassure while checking for causes of discomfort or fearTake a deep breath, dont argue, and use a calm, soothing voice to reassure and comfort your older adult. 

It also helps to speak slowly and use short, direct sentences.

Then, check for possible causes of agitation or fear, like:

  • Feeling disturbed by strange surroundings
  • Being overwhelmed by complicated tasks
  • Frustration because of the inability to communicate

It also helps to focus on their emotions rather than their specific words or actions. Look for the feelings behind what theyre doing as a way to identify the cause.

3. Keep track of and avoid possible triggersWhenever difficult behavior comes up, write down what happened, the time, and the date in a dedicated notebook

Also think about what was going on just before the behavior started and write that down as a possible trigger. 

Taking some time away can help both of you. 

Dont Use Slang Or Figures Of Speech

As dementia progresses, it can become harder for someone to understand what youre trying to tell them. For example, telling a loved one with Alzheimers disease that its “no use crying over spilled milk” might result in him looking to see where the milk has spilled, rather than end up comforting him or encouraging him not to focus on a past problem.

In fact, the proverb interpretation test, which asks the test taker to interpret abstract ideas such as the spilled milk reference above, is one way to screen for symptoms of dementia.

Cope With Changes In Communication

Dealing With Dementia: How To Help Someone You Love ...

As your loved ones Alzheimers or dementia progresses, youll notice changes in how they communicate. They may have trouble finding words, substitute one word for another, repeat the same things over and over, or become easily confused. Increased hand gestures, losing their train of thought, and even inappropriate outbursts are all common as well.

Even if your loved one has trouble maintaining a conversationor less interest in starting oneits important to encourage social interaction. Making them feel safe rather than stressed will make communication easier, so try to manage your own frustration levels.

Be patient. If your loved one has difficulty recalling a word, for example, allow them time. Getting anxious or impatient will only inhibit their recall. Gently supply the word or tell the person that you can come back to it later.

Be aware of your body language. Your loved one responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and nonverbal cues as much as the words you choose. Make eye contact, stay calm, and keep a relaxed, open posture.

Speak slowly and clearly. Give one direction or ask one question at a time, use short sentences, and give your loved one more time to process whats being said. Find a simpler way to say the same thing if it wasnt understood the first time.

Maintain respect. Dont use patronizing language, baby talk, or sarcasm. It can cause hurt or confusion.

Caregiving And Loving Someone With Dementia

Over 16 million people in the United States alone care for someone with Alzheimers or dementia. While the caregiving journey can be rewarding, it is no secret that it can also be overwhelmingly challenging.

As the disease progresses, it becomes easier to forget that your loved one is still present. Many caregivers are frustrated by their loved ones inability to communicate their thoughts and their inability to remember faces and names. The disease eventually takes away independence so that caregivers become the feet, hands and mind of people struggling with dementia.

Many people who have the disease struggle with depression and some can become violent, further increasing frustration for caregivers. But, despite all these challenges, if you care for and love someone with dementia, it can be extremely rewarding and although it may not be obvious, your loved one is still there, behind the disease.

Keep Things Simpleand Other Tips

Caregivers cannot stop Alzheimers-related changes in personality and behavior, but they can learn to cope with them. Here are some tips:

  • Keep things simple. Ask or say one thing at a time.
  • Have a daily routine, so the person knows when certain things will happen.
  • Reassure the person that he or she is safe and you are there to help.
  • Focus on his or her feelings rather than words. For example, say, You seem worried.
  • Dont argue or try to reason with the person.
  • Try not to show your frustration or anger. If you get upset, take deep breaths and count to 10. If its safe, leave the room for a few minutes.
  • Use humor when you can.
  • Give people who pace a lot a safe place to walk. Provide comfortable, sturdy shoes. Give them light snacks to eat as they walk, so they dont lose too much weight, and make sure they have enough to drink.
  • Try using music, singing, or dancing to distract the person.
  • Ask for help. For instance, say, Lets set the table or I need help folding the clothes.

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.

DO:

  • 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.

 DONT:

  • Rely on lengthy explanations and reasoning, as this may further overwhelm your family member.

How To Finish The Conversation

How to cope when someone with dementia forgets who you are

Just as you prepared to start a conversation, so you must think about how you will bring it to a close. If you are leaving the persons home, make sure you say goodbye. You should not leave the person thinking you are still in their home, perhaps in another room. This may cause confusion or anxiety.

Ensure you have their attention, smile, and let them know you enjoyed your time together and the conversation. Shaking their hand or touching them is a common gesture which gives them a strong clue you are leaving. Leave them reassured and let them know you look forward to talking again. If you are likely to be speaking to them very soon, for example later that day, say when you will return and leave a note close by indicating when the next visit will be.

Help Them Stay Organized But Without Doing Everything For Them

Having a nighttime routine also helps with sleep problems that some seniors with dementia encounter. Doctors suggest non-drug options to manage sleep issues in those with dementia-related sleeping issues. The right room temperature, comfortable bedding, nightwear, and a soft light that isnt too dark can help. So can reading or listening to music to wind down instead of television or a drink which can act as a stimulant and disrupt sleep.

A person with dementia may need help with their daily tasks and life which theyd managed alone until now. Having a set routine can help. Dont do everything for them though it might make them feel unwanted or useless. Instead, have them do things with you or assist with little jobs around the house. If tasks seem daunting, break it down into simpler steps for them. You could even use notes or little posters at critical locations to help them remember what to do or how to do something.

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.

Get A Carer’s Assessment

If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment.

A carer’s assessment might recommend things like:

  • someone to take over caring so you can take a break
  • training in how to lift safely
  • help with housework and shopping
  • putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to

A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one.

Take Care Of Yourself

What to Expect as a Caregiver for Someone with Dementia ...

It is not possible to properly look after a person when you are not in the best state yourself. You would rather have someone else take up the responsibility than end up suffering.

Take breaks when necessary and do everything in your power to be happy and positive. This may demand that you increase physical exercise, eat a balanced diet, meditate, or go for long walks in nature depending on what you like.

It is the only way you will be able to handle the job in the best possible way.

How The Disease Affects The Brain

Physiologically, dementia and/or Alzheimers affects various parts of the brain, specifically, it affects the brain in such a way that people have a difficult time learning new information. This is why, for a long time into the disease, patients and/or loved ones can remember things that happened a long time ago. They can remember wedding dates, the war they fought in, where they went to high schoolbut they can’t remember the visit that they had with their daughter yesterday. This is because the disease affects certain parts of the brainthe temporal lobeswhich are responsible for helping us learn new things.

The reason theyre able to hold onto the memories that happened a long time ago is because those memories are represented throughout the brain. Long-term memories don’t require just one or two areas of the brainthey’re probably represented in multiple systemsso the disease has to be quite advanced before patients and/or loved ones start losing those memories.

In the brain of someone with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, there are actual holes in the brain that form. In an image of an Alzheimer’s brain, one can see where many of the brain cells have diedand it affects every area of the brain.

Ask Very Simple Questions

Any questions you ask should be easy to understand and answer. Instead of saying, Hi Richard, We were wondering if you might want to take a walk before going to eat your lunch this afternoon? try Richard, can we go for a walk? or Richard, its time to eat. Always address them with their name and allow them a moment to process and react or answer the question.  You dont want to overwhelm them with long-winded questions or by asking too many at once.

A great way to continue to promote independence and self-autonomy even as dementia progresses is to offer simple choices. For example, Julio, would you prefer to wear your green shirt or blue shirt today? When you give simple choices, you offer a supportive environment that allows your loved ones with dementia to still have some control over their life.

Do Not Shy Away From Asking For Help

No one may have all the answers especially when it comes to taking care of a person with dementia. Try doing research on how their behavior changes and what needs to be done to help them live their lives without too many complications. Hire help when it becomes too much as it also ensures that you do not become too frustrated or drained. When you have multiple family members who can help, ask everyone to pitch in and look after the patient so that you can get some personal space to breathe and re-energize when it is your time to look after the patient. When you feel like you can no longer look after your loved one at your own home, it may be time to consider assisted living. In such case, look into dementia care homes that can provide specially trained professionals.

Dont Forget The Children And Teens

How to Deal with Dementia

With so much focus on the person who has dementia, sometimes younger family members donât get the attention they need, or the illness is not explained in a way they can understand.

Children often experience a wide range of emotions when a parent or grandparent has Alzheimerâs disease. Younger children may be fearful that they will get the disease or that they did something to cause it. Teenagers may become resentful if they must take on more responsibilities or feel embarrassed that their parent or grandparent is âdifferent.â College-bound children may be reluctant to leave home.

Reassure young children that they cannot âcatchâ the disease from you. Be straightforward about personality and behaviour changes. For example, the person with Alzheimerâs may forget things, such as their names, and say and do things that may embarrass them. Assure them that this is not their fault or intentional, but a result of the disease.

Find out what their emotional needs are and find ways to support them, such as meeting with a counsellor who specializes in children with a family member diagnosed with Alzheimerâs disease. School social workers and teachers can be notified about what the children may be experiencing and be given information about the disease. Encourage children and teens to attend support group meetings, and include them in counselling sessions.

Here are some examples that might help you cope with role changes within the family:

Aggressive Behaviour In Dementia

In the later stages of dementia, some people with dementia will develop what’s known as behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia .

The symptoms of BPSD can include:

  • increased agitation
  • aggression
  • delusions
  • hallucinations

These types of behaviours are very distressing for the carer and for the person with dementia.

It’s very important to ask your doctor to rule out or treat any underlying causes, such as:

If the person you’re caring for behaves in an aggressive way, try to stay calm and avoid confrontation. You may have to leave the room for a while.

If none of the coping strategies works, an antipsychotic medicine can be prescribed as a short-term treatment. This should be prescribed by a consultant psychiatrist.

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