People with dementia, like Alzheimer’s or related diseases, suffer from a progressive brain disorder. Eventually, it becomes hard for them to think clearly, remember things, take care of them, and communicate with others.
Other common dementia symptoms include mood swings and behavioral and personality changes. So caring for persons with this illness isn’t easy.
It poses several challenges for caregivers and family members. For example, caregivers are likely to face aggressiveness and miscommunication, etc. However, mastering some strategies will make it easier, keeping you and the dementia patient comfortable.
So, how to care for elder people and efficiently deal with behavioral issues if you are a caregiver for a Dementia person? Here are some effective tips.
Tips to Understand Dementia Behaviors
Giving proper care to patients with dementia can be daunting. But the following tips on how you should handle dementia behavior will help you in the process. Let’s find out!
This is ideally the most challenging task as we aren’t born mastering the skills to communicate with dementia individuals. However, we can learn and improve it to make the caregiving process easier and less stressful.
With good communication skills, you can also properly tackle the challenging behavioral aspects of persons with this illness.
So here are some tips for handling communication –
- Bear a Positive Mood While Interacting
Our bodies and attitude express thoughts and feelings more strongly than our words. Thus, caregivers should speak to these individuals with a positive and pleasant attitude and manners.
Always carry a smile, amiable tone, and facial expressions. Use physical touch to show affection towards them and convey what you want to say.
- Convey Your Message Precisely
Don’t use complex words or sentences, and be loud. Instead, keep it simple; use each word distinctively while speaking slowly in a reassuring tone. Repeat the same words or question if they fail to understand the first time.
- Limit All Distractions
As a caregiver, you must capture your patient’s full attention while communicating. Thus, make sure there is nothing to distract them, like noise from the TV, radio, or surrounding areas. Shut the door if necessary!
To get their attention, address them by their name, and help them to identify you by name and relation. Plus, use physical touch or maintain eye contact to keep them focused.
- Be All Ears
Patience is the key to handling people with dementia. They are likely to struggle while answering you, taking up much time but be patient and suggest words often. Just strive to understand what they are trying to say by looking at their body language or broken sentences.
The person can often feel anxious or confused. Avoid convincing them if they are wrong. Instead, try to understand the underlying feelings and respond to them using supportive and reassurance expressions.
Dementia can even cause insomnia and restlessness. Experts suggest caregivers escalate activities during the day and minimize it gradually while bedtime approaches. It is essential to educate a Dementia person’s mind when to sleep. So you should avoid giving stimulants such as coffee before bedtime.
If the restlessness persists, consult a doctor for medications to deal with it.
Handle Troubling Behavior
Another greatest challenge you will encounter while caregiving your loved one with dementia is behavior and personality changes. However, you can effortlessly combat these challenges by being patient, compassionate, flexible, and creative.
Check out the following things to handle behavioral issues –
- You Can’t Change the Individual
Dementia causes brain disorders that change the affected person’s behavior. So trying to change their behavior will be a waste of time. And you will face resistance and annoyance. And it will actually impact the quality of your relationship with the person.
Thus, try to adjust the behavior. For instance, the individual wants to sit on the couch to eat rather than at the dining table. In that case, try to set at least a tea table in front of the couch to help them keep the plate and eat comfortably.
Changing our attitude or the ambiance will be more beneficial and may bring some changes in the dementia person’s behavior.
- All Behaviors Have an Underlying Cause
If the person is taking out all the utensils in the kitchen daily, it’s likely to have a purpose. Unfortunately, people with this illness typically can’t express in words what they need or want.
So caregivers will have to understand what they are trying to mean with that particular behavior. Even if it seems invaluable, don’t stop them. Instead, try to adjust it. Sometimes, a new activity you incorporated into your daily routine or a changed pattern can trigger significant behavioral changes. In that case, change it and take a different approach.
- Seek Medical Assistance
Sometimes the individual may show behavioral changes due to some health issues. For example, they might be in pain or suffering from an adverse medicinal side effect.
Thus, you can choose to consult their doctor first. Some medications can even treat cases like hallucinations or incontinence.
Caring for people with dementia isn’t easy, as it entails extreme patience and consistency. These individuals need your support and continuous care, usually for a lifetime.
Thus, caregivers must understand their patients and their behaviors to implement appropriate measures for dealing with them. And the strategies mentioned above will hopefully help you in it efficiently.
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