When a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, most people do not know how to handle the situation. It presents behavior problems like anger, paranoia, confusion, and fear, which can lead to aggressiveness or violent speech. Understanding which strategies are most effective will help you effectively manage their behavior. In this article, we will talk about common situations and how to handle them appropriately.
Common Situation #1: Aggressive Actions or Speech
People suffering from dementia commonly have communication difficulties. This can be one of the most frustrating aspects for your loved one and for yourself. Therefore, when they are acting up, the reason can be attributed to their disease and the changes it causes in the brain.
Examples: Statements like: “I don’t want to take a shower!” or “I want to go home” or “I don’t want to eat that!” may escalate into aggressive behavior/speech.
Do: Try to understand what is causing your loved one to behave aggressively. Ask yourself what she or he is feeling to make them behave like that. Make sure they are not putting themselves or others in danger. Talk to them in a calm manner and try to shift their focus to something else.
Common Situation #2: Confusion
People suffering from dementia will at some point experience confusion about time or place.
Examples: “This isn’t my house” or “Why are we here?” is a common side effect of memory loss.
Do: There are many things you can do in this situation. You can show them pictures of them among loved ones. Another great solution is to redirect their attention to something else. Move them to another room, go for a walk or even give them a snack, if it’s allowed. And always remember to speak in a calm manner!
Common Situation #3: Cognitive Problems or Poor Judgment
Examples: “You stole my TV!” or “I saw him take away my vitamins!”
Why does this happen? The deterioration of brain cells is a particular explanation for behaviors showing poor judgment.
Do: The Alzheimer’s Association says that you should be encouraging and reassuring. You can help minimize frustration by offering help in small ways. Let’s say they think someone stole their vitamins: you can show them where their vitamins are located. It’s important for you to be as organized as possible so if they cannot find something, you will know exactly where they are.
Patience, love and understanding will go a long way with a loved one suffering from dementia. They get frustrated just like you do. Never try to argue with them – it will only make things worse.
Do you know someone suffering from dementia or memory loss? What have you done to help your loved one? Let us know – we want to hear your stories!