Familiar Behaviors Of Alzheimers Patients
Alzheimers disease can be tough on caregivers, especially when difficult behaviors like aggression or wandering occur. Read about five common Alzheimers behaviors and what you can do to respond effectively.
Alzheimers disease leads to progressive deterioration in the brain, which causes problems with memory and cognition. Even more heartbreaking, these changes to the brain can cause a range of behavioral issues. Caregivers of Alzheimers patients may find their loved ones acting in unfamiliar, even disturbing or violent ways. Sometimes the behavior is so severe that families place Alzheimers patients in nursing homes or dementia care facilities.
Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia
We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.
Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient
Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.
Types Of Medication For Difficult Behaviors In Dementia
Most medications used to treat difficult behaviors fall into one of the following categories:
1.Antipsychotics. These are medications originally developed to treat schizophrenia and other illnesses featuring psychosis symptoms.
Commonly used drugs: Antipsychotics often used in older adults include:
- For a longer list of antipsychotics drugs, see this NIH page.
Usual effects: Most antipsychotics are sedating, and will calm agitation or aggression through these sedating effects. Antipsychotics may also reduce true psychosis symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, or paranoid beliefs, but its rare for them to completely correct these in people with dementia.
Risks of use: The risks of antipsychotics are related to how high the dose is, and include:
- Increased risk of falls
- Increased risk of stroke and of death this has been estimated as an increased absolute risk of 1-4%
- A risk of side-effects known as extrapyramidal symptoms, which include stiffness and tremor similar to Parkinsons disease, as well as a variety of other muscle coordination problems
- People with Lewy-body dementia or a history of Parkinsonism may be especially sensitive to antipsychotic side-effects in such people, quetiapine is considered the safest choice
2. Benzodiazepines. This is a category of medication that relaxes people fairly quickly. So these drugs are used for anxiety, for panic attacks, for sedation, and to treat insomnia. They can easily become habit-forming.
Managing Sleeping Problems With Food And Drink
Some suggestions include:
- Cut down on caffeine during the day and cut them out altogether after 5 pm.
- Cut down on alcohol and discuss the effects of alcohol and medication with the doctor.
- If you think the person may be hungry at night, try a light snack just before bed or when they wake up during the night.
- Herbal teas and warm milk may be helpful.
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How To Handle Agitation And Anxiety
There are several potential sources of agitation and anxiety in people with dementia, including confusion, fatigue and overstimulation.
Tips for handling agitation include:
- Address any chaos in the environment by reducing noise level and the number of other people
- Avoid moving household objects around whenever possible
- Change the immediate environment when the person with dementia becomes agitated
- Play soothing music
- Safety-proof the environment to allow for as much autonomy as possible with the least number of hazards
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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Alzheimer Disease Vs Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Studies comparing the clinical profile of autopsy-confirmed cases of DLB and AD have consistently found a higher prevalence of delusions and hallucinations in DLB patients independently of gender, ethnicity, and degree of cognitive impairment . These symptoms occur in up to 80 and 60% of patients respectively and tend to be more persistent over the course of the disease compared with AD patients .
Sleeping Problems In Dementia
Problems with sleeping are common for people with dementia. Some people sleep during the day and are awake and restless at night. Some are no longer able to tell the difference between night and day, while others are simply not as active as they used to be and so need less sleep.Problems with sleeping or late evening agitation are often a stage in dementia that eventually passes. Many people with dementia sleep more during the later stages of the illness.Sleep problems are among the most difficult dementia symptoms for carers. Families and carers must be able to get adequate sleep themselves. Plan regular periods of rest and regular breaks for yourself, as well as for the person with dementia.
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How Can I Better Manage A Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease Whose Thinking And Behaviors Are Changing
The changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes lead to unusual and unpredictable thinking and behavior. For example, your loved one may become anxious around family members, neighbors, or friends whom he or she may not recognize, or in situations that vary from the normal routine. The person with Alzheimer’s disease also may become suspicious and suffer from delusions . He or she also may begin to withdraw from social interaction, wander, become aggressive, and/or become angry and irritable.
Here are some tips to help you manage the changes in thinking and behavior that often accompany Alzheimer’s disease:
Other general tips:
- Maintain current status. Dont try to teach new skills rather work to preserve your loved one’s abilities, particularly those that affect dignity .
- Limit changes. Limit changes in your loved ones surroundings or to his or her daily routine. Keep furniture and objects in the same location as much as possible. Clear clutter from rooms.
- Gently remind. Help your loved one maintain his or her orientation by naming events for the day reminding him or her of the date, day, time, place, etc. and repeating the names of the people with whom he or she has contact.
- Provide a good diet. Because the effects of dementia can be worsened by poor nutrition, be sure to provide your loved one with a nutritious diet and plenty of healthy fluids, such as water or juice.
Environmental Causes Of Sleeping Problems In Dementia
The environment of the person with dementia can cause sleeping problems in a number of ways including:
- The bedroom may be too hot or too cold.
- Poor lighting may cause the person to become disoriented.
- The person may not be able to find the bathroom.
- Changes in the environment, such as moving to a new home or having to be hospitalised, can cause disorientation and confusion.
Things you can try include:
- Keep the environment as consistent as possible.
- Check whether the person is too hot or cold when they wake up, because dementia can affect the bodys internal thermostat.
- Provide adequate lighting if shadows, glare or poor lighting are contributing to agitation and hallucinations.
- Move the mirror in the bedroom if the person becomes confused when they do not recognise their own reflection or the reflection of others in the room.
- Install night-lights that might help cut down on confusion at night and may help the person to find the bathroom.
- Place a commode next to the bed if finding the bathroom is a problem.
- Make sure the bed and bedroom are comfortable and familiar, because familiar objects may help to orient the person.
- Avoid having daytime clothing in view at night, because this may make the person think it is time to get up.
- Make sure that the person is getting enough exercise try taking one or two walks each day.
Disturbances In Motor Function
Unlike the prior psychopathological domains, disturbances in motor function can be directly observed and consist in reduced or increased motor activity, not necessarily associated with specific motor abnormalities. In motor retardation the patient presents with slowed movements and speech, reduced body tone, and decreased number of spontaneous body movements, whereas motor hyperactivity is characterized by an increased energy level with more frequent movements and/or rapid speech.
Agitation has been defined as inappropriate verbal, vocal, or motor activity that is not judged by an outside observer to result directly from the needs or confusion of the agitated individual . This term is used interchangeably with aberrant motor behavior and encompasses a range of activities such as wandering away from home repetitive, purposeless behaviors social inappropriate activities including those associated with disinhibition . According to Cohen-Mansfield four distinct categories of agitation are: physically non-aggressive behavior verbally non-aggressive behavior physically aggressive behavior and verbally aggressive behavior.
The Key To Understanding The Challenging Behaviors Of Dementia
The Key to Understanding the Challenging Behaviors of Dementia
Caregivers to parents and senior loved ones with dementia already know that it can be difficult to care for a loved one as the disease progresses. Dementia can make a person exhibit challenging behaviors and psychological symptoms that are upsetting for everyone involved.
Although we cant prevent these behaviors or changes, there are ways to better understand and deal with them. Read our tips for handling the challenging behaviors associated with dementia.
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Repeating The Same Question Or Activity
Repeating the same question or activity may be a result of memory loss where the person cannot remember what they’ve said or done.
It can be frustrating for the carer, but it’s important to remember that the person is not being deliberately difficult.
- be tactful and patient
- help the person find the answer themselves, for example, if they keep asking the time, buy an easy-to-read clock and keep it in a visible place
- look for any underlying theme, such as the person believing they’re lost, and offer reassurance
- offer general reassurance, for example, that they do not need to worry about that appointment as all the arrangements are in hand
- encourage someone to talk about something they like talking about, for example, a period of time or an event they enjoyed
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.
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Understanding Alzheimers Or Dementia Behavior Problems
One of the major challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers or another dementia is coping with the troubling behavior and personality changes that often occur. Aggressiveness, hallucinations, wandering, or eating or sleeping difficulties can be upsetting and make your role as caregiver even more difficult. Whatever problems youre dealing with, its important to remember that the person with dementia is not being deliberately difficult. Often, your loved ones behavioral issues are made worse by their environment, their inability to deal with stress, or their frustrated attempts to communicate.
As you try to identify the causes, its important to remember that a patient with dementia responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and body language far more than the words that you choose. So, use eye contact, a smile, or reassuring touch to help convey your message and show your compassion. And rather than take problem behaviors personally, do your best to maintain your sense of humor.
Managing Sleeping Problems Through Daily Routine
Some suggestions include:
- Try not to do any tasks in the late afternoon that may be upsetting to the person.
- If the person refuses to go to bed, try offering alternatives such as sleeping on the sofa.
- In some situations, it may be necessary to consider discussing the appropriateness of either using sedative medication or sleeping medication with the doctor. If the person wanders at night, consider allowing this, but check that the house is safe.
- Try a back rub before bed or during a wakeful period.
- Try a radio beside the bed that softly plays music.
- Gently remind the person that it is the evening and time for sleep.
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In What Stage Do Challenging Behaviors Occur In Alzheimers
Different kinds of behaviors occur during the stages of Alzheimers. Typically, in the early stages of dementia, people will battle the memory loss by initiating behaviors that they feel help them to control the situation or prevent problems. For example, its not unusual to see someone develop a level of obsessive-compulsive behavior since routine and repetition are reassuring and can prevent mistakes.
Other people in early dementia will begin hoarding things, either because they forgot they already had the item or because they are comforted by knowing they have multiple items in case of an emergency.
As the disease progresses into the middle stages, individuals may develop more anger, aggression, and agitation. The middle stages tend to be the most difficult in terms of behaviors since the person’s ability to reason or use logic has declined. People in the middle stages also might experience some psychological behaviors such as hallucinations or paranoia, which can be very upsetting and distressing for the person and her loved ones.
In the later stages of dementia, people tend to experience more apathy and withdrawal. It can become more difficult to elicit a response from your loved one. In late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals usually require more physical assistance from you in their activities of daily care but display fewer challenging behaviors.
Testimonials And Photographs: Challenging Behavior In Dementia
What an impressive webinar! This education is not just applicable to the health care worker, but every person that encounters someone with dementia in their life. I have learned techniques that seemed so simple. I would never have imagined them on my own. I will use these techniques not just as a nurse, but with some of my own family with dementia. Emily is a wonderful educator. There was so much information packed into the hour of training, yet it never felt overwhelming. Vanessa, LPN
I LOVE this course. I think every grad student I get should take it! The examples are great and I love your voice! Laura, MS/CCC-CLP
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Medical Causes Of Sleeping Problems In Dementia
Sleeping problems may be caused by physiological or medical causes including:
- brain damage that affects the biological clock in the brain that directs our sleep patterns
- illness such as angina, congestive heart failure, diabetes or ulcers
- pain caused by conditions such as arthritis
- urinary tract infections that cause a frequent need to urinate
- leg crampsor restless legs, which can indicate a metabolic problem
- depressionthat causes early morning wakening and an inability to get back to sleep
- side effects of medication, such as antidepressants and diuretics
- snoring and sleep apnoea
- ageing that causes sleep patterns to change so that some people need more sleep and some need less.
Things you can try include:
Navigating The Different Stages Of Alzheimers Disease As A Caregiver
Alzheimer’s Disease develops over time, causing changes in the brain that affect a person’s memory, thinking and behavior. According to the Alzheimers Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and 16 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers to loved ones with Alzheimers Disease or related dementias. With every change to a loved ones health as the disease progresses over time, these 16 million caregivers are along for the journey right there with their loved one.
A better understanding of the signs and symptoms of each stage of Alzheimer’s disease can help us seek and develop strategies to make the best life possible for a loved one, and for ourselves. This knowledge can also help us make decisions about a loved ones care and how it might need to evolve along with the disease.
Below are common behaviors and physical and mental changes that occur in each stage of Alzheimer’s. Because every person is different, we should keep in mind the loved one we provide care for may not experience all behaviors listed here.
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