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.
Other Causes Of Sleeping Problems In Dementia
Other causes of sleeping problems may include:
- going to bed too early
- sleeping too much during the day
- overtiredness, causing tenseness and inability to fall asleep
- not enough exercise, so the person does not feel tired
- too much caffeine or alcohol
- feeling hungry
- agitation following an upsetting situation
- disturbing dreams.
How To Deal With Manipulative Elderly Parents
Manipulative behavior can arise in seniors for many reasons and it is a critical area that caregivers need to address. Failing to do so can cause long-term stress. But, while the area is challenging, there are some approaches that can help.
Its easy to assume that as our parents age, they are going to remain basically the same person. Sure, they may face additional physical challenges and they may even be stubborn from time-to-time, but that should be the extent of it, right? Yet, there are many manipulative elderly parents out there.
In reality, seniors truly can be manipulative. Some of them may have been that way their whole lives, while others may have developed the behavior later on.
To make matters worse, caregiving can sometimes mean you have to take a hard line. Some seniors may refuse to eat, while others may be resistant to any form of help. Stepping back isnt always a viable option either, especially if the senior is a danger to themselves or others.
In some cases, the senior may be unaware of the behavior or the reason why theyre doing it. Other times, it could be entirely intentional.
As a result, its critical to understand why this happens and how to respond to it rather than just ignoring the pattern. Otherwise, you may find that the situation simply gets worse over time.
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Paranoia Delusion And Hallucinations
Distortions of reality, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations, can be another result of the disease process in dementia. Not everyone with dementia develops these symptoms, but they can make dementia much more difficult to handle.
Lewy body dementia, in particular, increases the likelihood of delusions and hallucinations, although they can occur in all types of dementia.
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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The Effect On Emotions
Although there is a decline in cognitive abilities over time, there is no decline in depth of feeling or the range of emotions that people with dementia experience. Indeed, for many people, emotions appear stronger than ever, and they can express anger, joy, grief and excitement without difficulty. They are also likely to be aware of any emotions expressed by others around them .
Think about your own emotions when caring or providing support for a person with dementia. When you arrive at the home of a person with dementia, are you feeling stressed or rushed after a previous home visit? If so, pause before going into the persons home, relax and smile as you enter. The person will see from your body language and tone of voice how you are feeling. If you are calm, patient, positive and reassuring, you are more likely to be successful in providing help and support.
For more on these sorts of ideas, from the point of view of people with dementia themselves, go to the feature My life is changing because of dementia in the section Getting to know the person with dementia.
Mood And Behavioral Symptoms
Frequency of Mood and Behavioral Disturbances
In Alzheimers disease, it is estimated that more than 90% of patients will have one or more significant mood or behavioral symptoms at some point during the course of their illness. In other forms of dementia, the frequency of mood or behavioral symptoms may be similar, or even higher. Like everything else about dementia, of course, this is highly variable there are some individuals who rarely exhibit mood or behavioral symptoms, while for others, these are the most prominent features of their illness throughout its course.
Impact of Mood and Behavioral Symptoms
Mood and behavioral symptoms certainly increase the suffering of both the person with the illness and care partner, and often the entire family. They decrease functional abilities, and occasionally lead to behaviors that are dangerous for the individual, the care partner, or both. Numerous studies have shown that poor control of behavioral symptoms is a major cause of hastened nursing home placement. It is these symptoms, more than almost anything, that drain the emotional resources of care partners, however loving and devoted they may be.
Reasons for Mood and Behavioral Symptoms
Some of the basic characteristics of dementia that can lead to mood and behavioral symptoms are:
What is the Effect of the Underlying Personality?
Inevitably, some of the unresolved issues that may have been avoided for years, or decades, will come to the surface.
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How Can Dementia Associated With Alcoholism Be Prevented
Prevention for this kind of dementia is found in the source of the alcoholism itself. Alcoholism can lead to many health and psychological problems, and over an extended period of time can increase the risk of dementia. The only way to prevent this is to control the alcohol addiction. This can be done through rehabilitation, hospitalization, and through a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Nipping alcoholism in the bud greatly decreases risk of dementia associated with alcoholism.
Understanding Requests And Instructions
The ability of people with dementia to understand the words that are being said to them gets worse over time. Following direct instructions may be particularly difficult.
So, if you are telling someone to move a particular part of their body while helping them dress, if the part of their brain has been affected, that means they can no longer follow direct requests, and frustration levels will rise on both sides .
Try to use easy to understand language. Keep requests or instructions as simple as possible and do your best to minimise choice. For example, if youre helping a person to dress, offer them a choice of two or three items to wear rather than a whole wardrobe of clothes. Offer clues as to how you are trying to help for example, pick up a knife and fork to demonstrate you would like them to eat, put an arm through a cardigan to indicate you would like them to get dressed, or put a foot into a shoe or slipper to show that you would like them to put on footwear.
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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.
Understand Why Someone With Dementia Says Mean Things
First, its important to understand why this hurtful behavior is happening.
Dementia is a brain disease that causes parts of the brain to shrink and lose their function, resulting in cognitive impairment.
These different parts control functions like memory, personality, behavior, and speech. Dementia also damages the ability to control impulses, which means actions arent intentional.
Even though its difficult, do your best to remember that they truly dont intend the mean things they say.
These mean comments and hurtful accusations often happen because the person is unable to express whats actually bothering them.
Working to accept the fact that theyre not doing this on purpose helps reduce stress and makes their behavior easier to manage.
The overall strategy is to take a deep breath, remind yourself that its not personal, take care of immediate discomfort or fear, and try to find the cause behind the behavior.
Next, look for long-term solutions that will help you get the support and rest you need to keep your cool in challenging situations like these.
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Manage Stress In An Alzheimers Or Dementia Patient
Different stress-reducing techniques work better for some Alzheimers patients than others, so you may need to experiment to find the ones that best help your loved one.
Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers for both the Alzheimers patient and you, the caregiver. Regular walking, dancing, or seated exercises can have a positive effect on many problem behaviors, such as aggression, wandering, and difficulty sleeping. Indoor shopping malls are vast walking opportunities protected from the weather.
Simple activities can be a way for your loved one to reconnect with their earlier life. Someone who used to enjoy cooking, for example, may still gain pleasure from the simple task of washing vegetables for dinner. Try to involve your loved one in as many daily activities as possible. Folding laundry, watering plants, or going for a drive in the country can all help to manage stress.
Remembering the past may also help calm and soothe your loved one. Even if they cant remember what happened a few minutes ago, they may still clearly recall things from decades ago. Try asking general questions about their distant past.
Use calming music or play your loved ones favorite type of music as a way to relax them when agitated. Music therapy can also help soothe someone with Alzheimers disease during mealtimes and bath times, making the processes easier for both of you.
Take time to really connect with the person youre caring for
Help From The Ontario Government
Caring for someone with dementia can be difficult, but help is available. Each province in Canada offers different resources and programs for dementia patients and caregivers. Were going to look at the options available in Ontario, however if you live in a different province, similar options will likely be provided.
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Symptoms For Dementia Sufferers
Alzheimers may also co-exist with psychotic conditions. Older adults who have schizophrenia are just as likely to develop AD as those who have no severe mental illness. They are also at a higher risk for depression, translating to a possible trifecta of co-occurring mental disorders. Symptoms of these disorders include:
- Extreme sadness
- Disinterest in people and previously-enjoyed activities
- Anxiety about change, going out of the house, strangers, etc.
- Feelings of suspicion or paranoia
- Sleep disturbances
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.
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Understanding The Causes And Finding Ways To Cope
When someone with dementia lashes out at you for seemingly no reason, it’s normal to feel surprised, discouraged, hurt, irritated, and even angry at them. Learning what causes anger in dementia, and how best to respond, can help you cope.
Free Guide Helps Reduce And Manage Challenging Dementia Behaviors
The Lewy Body Dementia Associations guide has plenty of practical tips and suggestions for reducing and managing challenging dementia behaviors.
Here, we share summaries of how each topic helps you and your older adult cope with common dementia symptoms. Refer to the guide for specific, detailed suggestions that you can use in everyday life.
1. Using routines page 2In the dementia brain, habits are a type of memory that tends to remain intact longer.
Creating and sticking a routine means that your older adult will do things based on habit and wont have to think about what to do next it becomes automatic.
Using habit memory often means that your older adult can participate in meaningful or purposeful activities for longer.
A routine might include eating breakfast before getting dressed, sitting in the same recliner in the living room each morning, attending an adult day program in the afternoon, and taking a bath in the evening.
Get tips on how to create and maintain helpful routines.
2. Communicating effectively with the person who has dementia page 4As their dementia progresses, your older adults ability to communicate will decline. Understanding how the disease affects them helps you communicate as effectively as possible for as long as possible.
Even when your older adult cant respond in the way they used to, being able to communicate with them helps keep them engaged in life for as long as possible.
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Create A Calm And Soothing Environment
The environment and atmosphere you create while caregiving can play a large part in helping an Alzheimers or dementia patient feel calm and safe.
Modify the environment to reduce potential stressors that can create agitation and disorientation. These include loud or unidentifiable noises, shadowy lighting, mirrors or other reflecting surfaces, garish colors, and patterned wallpaper.
Maintain calm within yourself. Getting anxious or upset in response to problem behavior can increase the patients stress. Respond to the emotion being communicated by the behavior, not the behavior itself. Try to remain flexible, patient, and relaxed. If you find yourself becoming anxious or losing control, take time out to cool down.
Behavior Disorders Of Dementia: Recognition And Treatment
ABI V. RAYNER, M.D., M.P.H., JAMES G. OBRIEN, M.D., and BEN SCHOENBACHLER, M.D., University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky
Am Fam Physician. 2006 Feb 15 73:647-652.
Patient information: See related handout on dementia, written by the authors of this article.
Virtually all patients with dementia will develop changes in behavior and personality as the disease progresses.1 The nature and frequency of symptoms vary over the course of the illness, and psychotic features tend to present later, particularly when the patient becomes more dependent. Psychotic manifestations and other behavior problems may be more troubling and challenging than cognitive losses these features result in an increased burden for caregivers, earlier institutionalization, and an acceleration in cognitive decline.2
Psychotic features of dementia include hallucinations , delusions, and delusional misidentifications. Hallucinations are false sensory perceptions that are not simply distortions or misinterpretations. They usually are not frightening and therefore may not require treatment. Delusions are unshakable beliefs that are out of context with a persons social and cultural background. Delusional misidentification may result from a combined decline in visual function and cognition.2 For example, patients may suspect that their family members are impostors , believe that strangers are living in their home, or fail to recognize their own reflection in a mirror.
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Finding The Right Words
Another impact of dementia is increasing difficulty in finding the right words for things and to express oneself in a clear way. Over time this can result in speech becoming very limited. If by the time you get to meet someone with dementia they have lost a lot of speech, then getting to know them becomes more of a challenge.
If someone you are caring for is struggling to speak or find the right words, listen carefully, be patient and give them time to communicate. Think about what the person is doing or trying to do, the theme of any conversation that has been taking place and look for clues as to what the person is trying to tell you . It is important to be clear about what the person is saying or indicating and not just assume what word or words they are trying to express.