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How To Stop Dementia Patients From Scratching

How Do You Make A Dementia Patient Happy

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If a person with dementia gets suitable surroundings, they can lead productive, satisfying, and most importantly, happy lives for many years after the initial diagnosis. The happier they are the less likely they are to get angry or start exhibiting worrisome behavior. Here are some effective tips for making a dementia patient happy:

  • Providing emotional support and a relaxed environment
  • Helping the person feel safe and comfortable
  • Spending time talking to them and relaxing with them
  • Adding fun activities
  • Adding meaningful activities

Articles On Physical Problems With Dementia And Alzheimer’s

People with Alzheimerâs disease might itch and scratch or pick at their skin for many reasons. It may be hard for your loved one to let you know what the problem is, so youâll need to pay close attention and see if you can figure it out.

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of scratching and picking. Itâs common in older adults because as we age our skin gets thinner and doesnât hold as much moisture. This often makes the skin irritated and itchy. It can also result from using harsh cleansers or soaps, bathing too often, or bathing in hard water or well water. And itâs common in areas where the climate is hot or cold and the air is dry.

Itchy skin with red bumps may result from bug bites:

Bed bugs. These small oval insects feed on blood. They live on furniture, on beds, and in carpets. Theyâre mostly active at night. Their bites donât hurt, but they leave small, flat or raised bumps often in a row on the skin. The bites are commonly found on the face, neck, hands, and arms. They cause redness, swelling, and intense itching. Steroid creams or oral antihistamines, like Benadryl, can help relieve the itch. Pest-control experts can get rid of bed bugs in the home.

Ants and mosquitoes. If your loved one has been outside, they might have ant or mosquito bites. Clean the area with soap and water, then pat dry. Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to calm the itch. Cold compresses may also ease the swelling and inflammation.

Make Sure They Can Be Identified

Be sure your loved ones have some form of identification on them. Multiple forms of identification, emergency contact numbers and disclosure of their medical diagnosis of dementia are a good idea, in case one form is removed or lost. You might get an ID bracelet or pendant, or one that laces into shoelaces or attaches to a watchband, as well as identification inside their clothing and in their wallet. My boyfriend suggested a very simple Road ID bracelet with a comfortable wristband like the one he wore when he went running. I purchased one for my dad, and he wore it for eight years, never trying to remove it. Be sure you have recent photos in case they are needed for identification in a search effort to locate an older adult who is missing.

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Do Dementia Patients Feel Bored

Yes, just like everyone else, dementia patients may feel bored from time to time. Unfortunately, when they are no longer able to plan their own activities, the boredom may easily turn to frustration. The person may become agitated and start wandering the house, simply because his/her mind has been idle for too long. Activities that will keep dementia patients busy and engaged can help get rid of boredom.

Consult With A Doctor

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Its complicated to pinpoint the cause of fecal smearing unless you talk with a doctor. But you should know that you are not alone. Other caregivers or family members are going through the same thing and are trying to overcome the same issues.

Fifty million people worldwide have dementia, but fecal smearing is only present in very few of them. One particular study, explicitly focused on this disruptive behavior, was issued to analyze the rate of this problem and how prevalent it is in patients with dementia.

Out of the 246 patients tested, fecal smearing was frequently present in 23% of cases, and it was rarely noticed in 14% and never appeared in 51% of all the tested. Patients with fecal smearing showed a negative outlook concerning their quality of life and low scores with cognitive functions.

But, all those tested had insomnia, some more frequently than others. This study suggests that the reason for such behavior could be insomnia and cognitive dysfunction.

If an adult with dementia has insomnia or any cognitive dysfunction, they will try to soothe their problem or deal with the discomfort and pain by going through their rectal area. The doctor can prescribe certain medications to help these individuals treat their health issues to reduce that behavior.

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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.

Install Alarms And Locks

Consider gadgets and technology that will alert you that your loved ones are up and about before they leave the home, such as audio and video monitors, floor mat or seat pad alarms, motion sensor alarms or simple door chime alarms. Make door handles more difficult to open by using door lever safety locks or door knob safety covers. Try installing deadbolt locks where they are harder to see like above eye level or below the normal placement. You may need multiple items in place to attain peace of mind. Just be sure that you can exit in an emergency.

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Keep Your Mind Active

An active mind may help lower the risk of dementia, so keep challenging yourself. Some examples would be:

  • study something new, like a new language
  • do puzzles and play games
  • read challenging books
  • learn to read music, take up an instrument, or start writing
  • stay socially engaged: keep in touch with others or join group activities
  • volunteer

What Causes Restlessness In People Living With Dementia

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They may be a symptom of the physical changes in the brain caused by dementia. A person may become agitated suddenly because of a change or specific cause, such as increased noise or not being able to do something they previously could. Or they may feel a general sense of agitation but not know why.

A person may feel restless as a side-effect of certain medication . If you think this is the case, ask the persons GP to check whether their prescription could be causing them to feel restless.

There is also a medical condition called restless leg syndrome that gives people an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move their legs to stop unpleasant sensations mostly at night. This condition causes people to get up and walk about during the night. If you think the person you are supporting might have restless leg syndrome, talk to their GP.

Some people may be restless because they feel anxious. A number of things can cause anxiety. For example a person with dementia might be more aware of the changes they are experiencing or because they are unable to continue with hobbies and tasks they enjoy.

A less common reason is that they may be responding to issues with their visual perception or hallucinations and how they interpret what they see. This is a more common symptom of certain types of dementia, such as dementia with Lewy bodies.

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Analyze Their Functional Behavior

Adults with dementia often dont express their issues. Instead, they show them. Fecal smearing sends out a powerful message, and to manage it you first have to understand it. Ask yourself what could lead up to such behavior, has the patient experienced any traumatic stress in their life. Are they expressing their helplessness, frustration, anger, or powerlessness?

There could be many reasons for this behavior, but one thing is guaranteed if you want to manage it, then you have to act in a neutral emotional manner. When fecal smearing happens, its crucial to avoid working in a dominating, aggressive way.

Records show that individuals whove reacted aggressively or negatively towards an individual while smearing their feces have increased the messiness and frequency of scatolia.

How To Respond In The Heat Of The Moment

  • Try to stay calm. Dont fight back or raise your voice. Even cues that youre nervous might get picked up by someone with Alzheimers, and that can increase the aggression. Leave the room if you need to pull yourself together.
  • Stay safe. Obviously you dont want your charge to fall or hurt herself, but your own safety needs to be paramount. Step back if the person is out of control, rather than stepping in to restrain or overpower.
  • Dont argue. Make it your goal to avoid escalating the behavior, not to get your way or prove yourself right.
  • Resist the temptation to punish. The notion of cause and effect is beyond the cognition of someone with serious dementia. Issuing consequences will only add to the persons upset, and to the violence.
  • Distract. Try breaking the mood by stopping and starting again in 15 minutes. Change to a new activity, or even just move to a new room. If bathing has gotten off on the wrong foot, for example, switch to something you know your loved one enjoys listening to music, having a snack. Then get back to the bath later, taking care to eliminate or soften the trigger if you can.
  • Self-soothe in healthy ways. After a troubling incident, take care of yourself, too. Call a friend or reach out to an online Alzheimers forum. Do not isolate yourself physically from others .

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Dementia And Repetitive Behavior: Tips To Cope With Behavioral Changes In Dementia

Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onOctober 14, 2016

There are many different types of behavioral changes in dementia, and repetitive behavior is one of them. Patients may repeat the same question or statement, perform the same movement, or carry out the same activity over and over again. This may provide them with a sense of security, which can ease anxiety. It may also be a way for the patient to make sense of their environment or surroundings.

Repetition often results from the fact that the person does not remember they already performed that action or asked that question, so they keep repeating it.

Ways To Manage Dementia Rummaging Behavior

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1. Make sure they wont accidentally hurt themselvesIf dangerous items are easily accessible, seniors with dementia could easily mistake them for safe objects and hurt themselves.

For example, they may not recognize knives as sharp items and could cut themselves. Or they could mistake cleaning fluids for normal beverages.

To keep them safe while theyre rummaging, remove potentially dangerous items and keep them out of sight in secured, locked areas.

Spoiled food in the refrigerator or cabinets could also be a risk. People with dementia might be looking for a snack, but arent able to recognize when food isnt safe to eat.

Clear out food as it expires and make it difficult to access raw foods or cook them right away.

2. Protect valuables and important documentsYour older adults rummaging behavior might stress you out because they could lose or destroy a valuable object or important document.

The best solution is to remove anything of value or importance and lock them safely away.

That could include jewelry, legal or financial documents, checkbooks, credit cards, or keys. You could even replace some items with fakes so your older adult wont notice theyre gone.

Another concern is that your older adult could be hiding or throwing away the mail. If thats happening, you may want to redirect all their mail to a post office box or a trusted relative or friends house.

Helping them easily see or locate commonly used items is another way to reduce rummaging behavior.

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Repetition In Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s caregivers can feel like they are losing their own minds to dementia, as they must keep answering the same questions repeatedly. But patients who repeat themselves just want to be reassured, Rubinstein explains. One way to cut down on anxious questioning is to be strategic about discussing schedules. Don’t announce plans days or weeks in advance. Instead, just arrange the details and tell your loved one on the morning of a medical appointment or other event. Apologize if necessary for the “short notice.”

Flag Any Access To Bicycles Lawn Mowers Tractors Golf Carts

Keep in mind your loved ones might decide its a good idea to ride one of these vehicles . Be sure to monitor their ability to use them safely and block access if they cant. One can get quite a distance in one of these alternative vehicles.

Remember that abilities and needs can vary greatly among individuals with dementia, and safety concerns can change as the disease progresses. Continually assess your loved ones risk for getting lost or injured if they leave the home. Do whatever you can to minimize the chance that theyll be in danger and have a plan in place outlining what youll do if they get lost, including notifying authorities, friends and family. Dont delay preventive measures are well worth it when it comes to protecting our loved ones.

Amy Goyer is AARP’s family and caregiving expert and author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving. Connect with Amy on , , in AARP’s Online Community and in the .

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Social And Emotional Activities

Engaging people with dementia in regular physical, social, and emotional activities is a promising strategy for keeping the condition at bay. The activities you choose should result in lifestyle change and long-term activity participation.

Examples include:

  • Reading with or to them
  • Going on a short outing in nature
  • Baking something or cooking meals together
  • Watching a movie, TV show, or family videos together
  • Sing their favorites songs as a group
  • Go to museums and festivals as a group
  • Make a memory box with other members of the family
  • Have them tell stories or read books out loud

Treatments How To Stop Skin Picking

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You may have tried to stop skin picking on your own many times, but failed. Perhaps you try to conceal your condition by picking only areas that you can cover with clothing. You spend considerable amounts of time in isolation engaging in compulsive picking sessions. You cannot get past the intense urges and anxiety associated with the disorder without professional help. Effective treatment for skin picking is available:

You may also find it helpful to join a support group that focuses on helping people refrain from picking at their skin. The International OCD Foundation has an online search tool you can use to locate a support group in your area. If youd rather participate in an online support group, they include an online and phone support group listing as well.

Quick tips to stop skin picking:

These tips on how to stop picking at skin can help you with your disorder after youve gotten help from a professional. Employ these tips in addition to any medication or CBT therapy tools youve learned.

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Tips For Preparing For Emergencies

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers of the local police and fire departments, hospitals, and poison control as well as the Safe Return 24/7 incident line 1-800-572-1122
  • Keep a list of physicians phone numbers and current medications
  • Keep copies of legal documents
  • Check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, and conduct fire drills regularly

What Can I Do To Help

Behavioral therapy has been found to be the most effective method for the treatment of BFRBs, however, its application is not always appropriate with the elderly, particularly when there is decreasing internal motivation and immediate gratification becomes more prominent. One of the fundamental steps in behavioral therapy is to gain awareness of the picking patterns in order to identify the triggering environments and precipitating factors. It may be that you as the carer would need to gain that awareness on your loved ones behalf. You can do this by keeping a picking record detailing the times of day, the environments and their mood at the time of picking. It is possible you may want to speak gently to your parent about how they are feeling at the time of picking. Try to understand why the person may be anxious, afraid or sad. Once you have identified a pattern for the picking, you may be able to be proactive in preventing the picking. Here are some ways you can create a competing response to these triggering stimuli:

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Aggression In Alzheimer’s Patients

“Oftentimes, aggressiveness is just frustration because they aren’t getting their point across,” Rubinstein explains. Dementia results in increasing difficulty with communication, so figuring out how best to communicate with your Alzheimer’s patient will help. Alzheimer’s caregivers might create a picture book or photo menu to help your loved one point out what they want to eat or drink or who they are thinking about. Keep air horns around the house and blast them to stop physical aggression in its tracks, and don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 for help if this Alzheimer’s symptom turns dangerous.

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