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Coping with Dementia

Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Issues

The common misconception is that those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia are seemingly sweet, slightly confused, but rather harmless seniors. However, there is a spectrum of other behaviors that may be a lot for family members to cope with.

Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers may have angry and at times uncontrollable outbursts, with physical outbursts not uncommon. These could include striking out at others, throwing objects, or trying to destroy property. It is important not to rush to judgment and assume that all patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia exhibit these violent and aggressive behaviors. However, addressing the entire spectrum of behaviors and challenges can best help elderly loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s cope and adjust appropriately.

Paradise Valley Care Care professionals understand that dealing with a family member’s unexpected dementia or Alzheimer’s behaviors may be very stressful. There are three key tips to keep in mind:

Knowledge is Power: Learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia can help you understand your loved one’s behavior. New or uncharacteristic behaviors may be symptoms of the disease, and not intentional. Better understanding the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s can help you understand what your loved one may be feeling. All your loved one’s caregivers should remember that the person with dementia or Alzheimer’s is not lashing out intentionally or deliberately being difficult. To best manage the situation, empathy, open communication, and overall emotional support are key.

Find Patterns and Take Note: This involves being observant and partnering with caregivers and medical staff, if your loved one resides at an assisted living facility. For example, if caregivers notice that in loud situations, or particular parts of the day, more aggressive behaviors start to emerge, then take note and try to help your loved one avoid these situations, when possible. If your loved one is at an assisted living facility, the staff should have a care plan that addresses observed triggers for behaviors and how best to avoid those situations. If you observe specific triggers, make sure to communicate with all caregivers so that a coordinated and consistent approach to behavior management is implemented.

Be Empathetic, Within Reason: Reflecting on the feelings and perspectives of your loved one can help you in addressing behaviors. Above all, patience is vital in helping your loved one (and you) adjust to their new behavior. Take into account whether your loved one has been placed in an assisted living facility. This transition can be difficult for many elderly adults, as they may grieve the loss of their home and familiar surroundings. Caring and patient staff who are well-trained in dementia care at your loved one’s new home can ease the transition for everyone.