When you experience dementia behaviors from a loved one, it can be quite difficult to handle. Understanding common behaviors of dementia means realizing that communication changes and it can be very frustrating. Dementia behaviors can be difficult to manage but the good news is that there is something you can do about it.
Managing Behaviors of Dementia Patients
Take each one of these ways of managing behaviors of dementia patients and give them a try. Start slowly, and if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t discount it. Simply try again until you’re sure it’s not going to work.
When you’re frustrated, it can be difficult to remain positive, but it’s the best way to react to poor dementia behaviors. Make sure your body language matches the positive tone of your voice because even though your loved one is older, he/she can pick up on signals that don’t match up.
Don’t try to speak to your loved one while he/she is watching TV or listening to the radio. Either ask to turn it off or wait until it is off to communicate. This way he/she is not inundated with too many things grasping for their attention – including speaking with you.
Do not try to tell your loved one a long, drawn out story. Attention spans are limited with people people suffering from dementia. Tell your loved one what you want him/her to know in as few words and sentences as possible without being vague.
When dealing with dementia behaviors Ask Simple Questions
Similar to the speaking simply, ask short, simple questions. For example,
● Do you want a turkey sandwich for lunch?
● How are you feeling?
● What time is your doctor’s appointment?
Avoid asking questions that are very open ended, such as:
● What happened when Mary came by today and what did she say?
Open ended questions tend to demand more from the person and can cause confusion, all leading to more undesirable dementia behaviors.
As you learn how to manage dementia be conscious of the patient having a difficult time processing information, especially when trying to say something. Be patient and wait for the person to start and finish speaking. Interruptions and hurrying your loved one will only frustrate him/her and you and could cause more unwanted dementia related behaviors.
Break Down Activities
Don’t assume a loved one still knows how to do things he/she did a year ago. When instructing how to do something, break it up into small, understandable chunks. For example, if you’re showing your loved one how to make a microwavable meal.
● Take the meal out of the freezer.
● Remove it from the box.
● Take the plastic off the top.
● Place it in the microwave.
● Tap the amount of time it needs to cook.
● Press Start.
It may seem like you’re being condescending, but it really is best when dealing with dementia behaviors. Just be sure your tone is polite and helpful.
How to manage dementia: Stop, Direct and Distract
Common behaviors of dementia could include being argumentative as a result of frustration. If an argument happens, stop, direct and distract. Sometimes, you just need to change the the subject, and that can sometimes mean bringing in a distraction like a television show or turning the radio on to your loved one’s favorite station.
Adjusting to a New Normal
It can be easier dealing with your loved one’s dementia behaviors by accepting this as the new normal. Change is inevitable as people age, and remembering this can help you get by the hardest parts of this stage of your his/her life.
Remember to care for yourself first. Take breaks as you need to, and reach out for help if you need it. This will help you use the above effectively, so you can keep a good relationship with your loved one.
How to manage dementia with Eldercare Connections’ care and placement services
Eldercare consultants are experts when in comes to helping you make the best decisions for your loved ones. Sometimes finding the best placement for a loved one who demonstrates dementia behaviors is required. Eldercare Connections offer FREE placement services and has great partnerships with surrounding care facilities to be able to help you determine the BEST care and placement for your loved one. Reach out to Eldercare Connections at 513-685-8998 or complete our Contact Us form.