Don’t try to fix them
When caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, caregivers instinctively try to bring them back into reality by remind them of the truth or asking them to remember things. What most caregivers don’t know is that this approach often causes anger or agitation.Your intentions are good. You think you can help your older adult get back to normal if you remind them about things or explain what’s real. But the reality is, getting back to normal just isn’t going to happen no matter how hard you try.
Having Alzheimer’s or dementia is a scary and confusing experience for your older adult. Using logic and reason to explain why you’re right and they’re wrong will only cause them to get more confused, agitated, defensive, and act out with difficult behavior.
Tips on how to respond
So, how can you help prevent your older adult from getting more upset or behaving in difficult ways? Here are some tips we learned from an expert Alzheimer’s support group leader.
Don’t be discouraged if your attempts to soothe or redirect don’t work every time! This is a skill that improves with practice. In time, you’ll figure out what works best for your senior.
Why this approach works better
When you pay attention to the situation and emotions rather than the words, it helps you uncover your senior’s true needs. Instead of arguing, shift the mood to something more calm and positive. You’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to get into the same screaming match for the 38th time.
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