As a family member of someone who is living with dementia or memory impairments, there are a number of behaviors that he or she may exhibit that you may be unprepared or ill-equipped to deal with, such as anxiety, aggression and/or repetition of actions. While these behaviors can result in frequent misunderstandings, it is important to always keep in mind that your loved one is not acting this way towards you on purpose. SYNERGY HomeCare of Opelika’s professional dementia caregivers have extensive experience handling behaviors such as these, and their assistance can be extremely beneficial for you, your family and your aging loved one.
Outlined below are some tips that may prove helpful in guiding you through how to effectively understand and respond to your loved one’s dementia or memory-related behaviors.
From time to time, individuals living with dementia or other memory impairments may exhibit aggressive behaviors, oftentimes for no apparent reason. As a caregiver or close friend or family member, it is critical that you know how to respond and manage these scenarios with the utmost care, patience and compassion. It is important to immediately attempt to identify the cause or source of aggression and deflect the topic of conversation without getting into an argument.
Sometimes, relaxing activities such as listening to music or engaging in light meditation can be enough to help soothe your loved one back into their normal, relaxed state.
One of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is confusion. While your aging loved one’s long-term memory may often remain intact, loss of his or her short-term memory can certainly present some hurdles. Your aging family member may forget important dates – such as a major holiday or anniversary – names of people with whom they are extremely familiar, or they may even find themselves wandering around aimlessly.
With these symptoms comes a level of disorientation and restlessness, which can present many challenges, making it imperative for caregivers to pay extremely close attention at all times, encourage interactive activities and create a safe, communicative environment in which your loved one can cope and manage their impairment to the best of their abilities.
When your loved one lives with short-term memory loss, it can lead to symptoms of paranoia and suspicion. If your loved one makes an accusation about you that seems out of the blue or unnecessarily harsh, it is important not to take offense and to avoid letting the conversation transition into a full-blown argument.
At SYNERGY HomeCare, our caregivers are focused on being good listeners, and they always put forth their effort into understanding how your loved one is feeling and the symptoms that may be common with the disease.
Understanding the Causes
One of the most important steps you can take when caring for an aging loved one living with dementia is to immediately identify the causes of certain behaviors and to always be on the lookout for patterns of reaction. For example, common causes of outburst behaviors could include difficulty with certain tasks, an inability to communicate properly or effectively, physical discomfort, chaotic or loud environments and unfamiliar surroundings.