When we grow older, we experience a slight challenge of performing our daily tasks. Those who have gone through a steep cognitive decline may have present challenging behavioral problems for their loved ones or their family and caregivers. This includes dealing with their senior loved one’s reactions. Dementia patients at times experience are anger, confusion, fear, sadness and paranoia, that may result to aggressive, violent speech or action.
We must be in a place of understanding when dealing with their behavior. The most effective strategy in working with dementia behavior is to help our loved one enhance and maintain the quality of their life.
The challenge here in taking care of them other than their behavior is communication. It can become difficult, which makes it one of the most upsetting aspects in rendering care. Their comprehension and memory change due to the decline, and can impact the way they act. The decline does change how the mind functions.
It would be great to condition ourselves with the common situations that may stem from someone with dementia. When anything happens, at least we can respond to them calmly and efficiently.
Here are the usual ways in caring for a senior with dementia:
- Demonstrate to them how some everyday tasks are performed rather than telling them how to.
- Include them in conversations.
- Maintaining their independence for as long as they are able.
- If it is hard for them to communicate, you may help decode what they mean especially when their statements may not make sense through the keywords which they have said.
There will be days when your loved one would be cooperative and other days when they are not. Those are those moments when they’re easily angered, frustrated, moody or any sort of expression which indicates that they are not themselves.
Know that none of their negative reaction is not our own doing or are we accountable for it. Usually, they feel upset about their health condition having diminished the important abilities they once had in understanding and building comfort in the world around them. It’s good to be patient with ourselves in taking care of them.
There are problems they have or will be encountering, such as:
Cognitive problems – The condition caused by deterioration of brain cells. This is characterized as Alzheimer’s, which affects the individual’s overall behavior. This results to poor judgment and errors in thinking. This can sometimes end up in chaos with the confusion and accusations made on loved ones and friends for having a certain possession misplaced. People with Alzheimer’s become upset about not remembering most things, that also goes for experiencing a difficulty with planning and organizing daily tasks.
Memory Loss – Furthermore, the condition causes confusion. They often forget where they’ve put their belongings in certain areas, lose their memory about their location, or forget their loved one’s names and faces as well as their memories with them.
Confusion – goes with the person’s cognitive decline. They are affected when thinking (thinking capacity), their reasoning and the way they behave. It’s good to listen with empathy to people who need to express their confusion, frustration or anxieties they are currently experiencing. They may need a GPS tracker attached to them or be monitored closely.
They will appreciate if you create good moments to lighten things up.
This even goes for the carers as it can be easy for caregiving to consume our time and have it become all about work, while we keep track of their basic needs, ensuring that chores are done. This also calls for spending quality time together to create moments or find opportunities to enjoy your time together through a variety of activities you can do with them. You can reminisce old memories with them to stimulate their brain.
People with dementia can feel confused. Things become non-sensible as they try to make out of what they used to understand. Reasoning as a solution or a way to help them will only irritate them. This impacts their feelings negatively, trying to rationalize with them while in the process of understanding will only make them feel frustrated. To avoid making things worse, it would be best to focus on their feelings rather than logic. On to the tips of giving care. This includes both the do’s and don’t’s on how to care for people with dementia.
Dementia Patients Do’s:
- You can go for what works:
- Mention or make happy memories and moments
- Identify the cause for any aggressive behavior
- Minimise frustration by offering to help to them in organizing their life
- Realize what would make a person feel safe and include that in their daily life
- Shift attention from something that has tension
- Talk concisely
- Calmly wait for their response
- Keep questions to a minimum
- Pay attention to them
- Speak clearly when expressing to them
- Maintain a distance from them so they can move freely
- Talk at eye-level
- Focus on their productivity
- Ask too many questions.
- Engage in argument
- Raise your tone or force your opinion on them
- Respond in an accusatory way in any situation
- Doubt their ability
- Be rigid in thinking
- Leaning onto reason in justifying their actions
- Invade their space
- Stand over the individual in dominance
- Start an argument
- Expose them to noise
- Talk fast
- Focus on their mistakes
Dementia care requires a bit of trial and error. Every time you try something that works, take note of it. Everytime you get them to agree to a bath a little easier, or makes them enjoy the day more, make a note of it. It becomes a learning process for both parties, but one of which needs to facilitate the care, consistently, remembering what works from what doesn’t in effectively catering to people with dementia.
While we extend our hand in caring for them, we remember to help them improve their quality of living. To be engaged in assisting them through their day-to-day, exercises, usual routines and others.
A very effective way to improve their quality of living is through a specially designed brain training exercises called NeeuroFIT Brain Training courses that reduces the risk of further cognitive decline. These exercises help slow the development of degenerative diseases and increase productivity as well as the success in doing the daily tasks.