If you’re caring for a loved one who is diagnosed with dementia, you know that their behavior is very unpredictable. The confusion, sadness, and anger from a PWD can cause some unstable situations. Often times, confusion can boil over to aggressive verbal and physical actions. In order to properly subdue these difficult scenarios, it’s best to know the different techniques when caring for a loved one with dementia. Below are 5 tips for managing dementia, but remember that not every person is the same. Some techniques work with one person, while the same techniques might have an adverse affect on someone else. It’s best to try an array of techniques and see what works best for you and your elderly loved one.
- Find the Cause – Often times, aggressive speech or violent actions are caused by a specific reason. Remember, an elderly loved one does not act violently towards you because they want to. That is never the case. Sometimes, it’s due to physical pain or even something such as hunger. Try to change the subject. Bring up the idea of eating or asking how they’re doing. This deflection might help you get closer to knowing what’s bothering them, and ultimately helping you calm them down.
- Speak Simply – Dementia is not a behavioral altering disease, it’s a memory altering disease which cause behavioral swings. That being said, if you care for your mother or father who lives in your home, often times you’ll get the question, “Why can’t I go home, now?” Your loved one feels uncomfortable. They feel like they’re in unusual territory even if they’ve been living there for years. It’s best to keep it simple when questions like these arise. Long explanations will get you nowhere. Dementia has no context to a person with dementia.
Sometimes a white lie is the best answer in these scenarios. Tell them that they can’t go home because the weather is awful or it’s too late to leave now. Do what you think will make your loved one feel the safest. And remember, questions like these are not an indicator that you’re doing a poor job at caregiving. It is merely a reflection of the safe feelings people get from the comfort of the home they’ve known for so long. Do not be insulted.
- Use Photos – Photo albums are a wonderful, tangible item that can help alleviate certain problems that occur with people who have dementia. You may find yourself in a position having to explain where a deceased spouse is. That question is never easy to answer. Therefore, instead of using your words, open up a photo album. Let your senior loved one peruse old photos. The nostalgic feeling helps promote positive energy and just allowing them to see their spouse will help calm them down.
As stated previously, these tips are suggestions. Every person is different and has their own personal reactions to various types of interactions. Pick and choose your techniques and determine what works best. There are no specific written rules when dealing with a loved who has dementia, so find the right techniques that work for you!
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