Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for up to 80% of cases of dementia. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other related diseases can often lead to dementia in people which makes it difficult for them to remember things, have clear communication or take care of themselves. These diseases are known to directly affect the brain, which results in corresponding changes in behavior, thinking and memory loss. This might bring up a lot of different behavioral patterns in the ones who are suffering from it. It can also lead to severe mood swings or sharp changes in their personality and behaviors.
In such cases, caregivers become the hands, feet, and mind of the people who are suffering from the disease. Caring for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a very difficult job, as it can cause a great deal of stress. Patients who are diagnosed with dementia need special care and assisted living in order to have a better quality of life.
Let’s understand some of the behaviors associated with dementia that will help you decide when your loved ones need Dementia assisted living facilities.
- Aggression: This can be the result of things like physical discomfort, sleeplessness, fear, fatigue or irritability which can cause anxiety and restlessness. All of these factors can result in aggression.
- Wandering: People who suffer from dementia often wander around aimlessly without realizing how far they have walked. It might also be because they forgot the way to their room or because they were looking for something.
- Loss of bladder control: This might happen in the later stages of dementia because the sufferer may have forgotten their way to the washroom or due to environmental factors.
- Hallucinations: Hallucinations and delusions might occur as dementia advances which can result in sleeplessness and instill fear.
A relative or caregiver can cope better with such patterns of behavior from their loved ones by following these steps:
It can be very difficult to see your loved one experience so many emotions all at once. Sometimes your loved one might show aggression or anger for an insignificant reason. Although it is quite natural to feel upset during this time, it is important to understand the resulting behavior due to dementia. It is not the person’s choice but a result of the disease. Try to empathize with them and put yourself in their shoes for a better understanding of their situation and reactions.
Nothing works better than remaining patient while taking care of someone struggling with dementia. People with dementia often tend to feel anxious and confused. You need to be prepared with several strategies for a bad day. One thing may work today but might not work the day after; hence, mental preparedness and patience is the key to understanding your loved one. It is important for the caregiver to provide positive reassurances from time to time.
Set Up Rules and Routine
It is important to establish bathroom routines and assist them in the washroom. It can be dangerous to leave them unattended in the bathroom for an extended period of time. Set up an exercise routine to help them feel better and avoid restlessness. Make sure your loved one wears an ID bracelet or locket. You could also sew their name or address on their clothes. Position door locks high or low to prevent them from wandering outside the home.
Letting Things Go
Your loved ones might falter in recognizing something. They might spell or pronounce something erroneously. If you try to control their behavior it might be met with resistance. This might result in aggression, so try to avoid correcting them each time and do not laugh at them. It is important to give them space, as this would provide some freedom and independence. Do intervene and object if they indulge in harmful behavior and consult medical help if necessary.
It is essential to make sure there are no outside distractions while trying to communicate. An effective way to communicate with your loved ones is by using simple words and short sentences. This will help them understand you better. Repeat yourself if your loved one doesn’t understand you the first time. Rephrase your sentences if your loved one still doesn’t understand what you are saying after a few repetitions. Use visual cues or prompts to help them answer your questions. Ask only one question at a time and avoid open-ended questions
Understanding Body Language
It will be relatively easy for a caregiver to take care of their loved one if he or she tries to understand their expressions, feelings, and thoughts instead of just their words. Physical touch can help your loved one in more ways than one; this is known to give more reassurance than words. Holding hands or hugging your loved one might get them to respond when nothing else works.
Try Pleasant Conversations
People with dementia might not clearly remember daily events or present happenings, but they can remember their past quite well, e.g., they wouldn’t remember if they had tea this morning, but might recall several incidents from their school experience. It would be wise to not ask them questions that are dependent on short term memory, but ask them general questions about their distant past. It would be great to get them engaged in a conversation of their past. They also have their social skills intact, so making them laugh will enhance their engagement. Sharing a joke or a funny incident can surely make them smile.
In the later stages, it might become essential to increase the care and supervision for dementia patients. It becomes very difficult for a single person or a family member to supervise all day. There are several support groups, organizations and Alzheimer’s Senior Living facilities that can assist you further. You may consider dementia assisted living facilities or Alzheimer’s senior living facilities that can help dementia patients with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They can also help with continuous supervision and assistance.