September 18, 2020
Awkwardness. Discomfort. Disbelief. Shame. Each one of these feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s heart when your family member with Alzheimer’s showcases disinhibited behaviors, for example:
- Rude or tactless comments
- Unacceptable sexual advances or remarks
- Removal of clothing at inappropriate times
- And other socially unacceptable actions
The complicated changes that occur to the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease can lead to a complete turnaround in an older adult’s personality and behaviors, for example a formerly genteel grandpa suddenly swearing like a sailor. For an individual who is confused, uncomfortable, disoriented, or has essentially forgotten social graces and skills, these behaviors are actually quite common; therefore, it’s important to learn how to best manage them should they develop in someone you love.
Continuum’s Alzheimer’s care professionals endorse trying the following tactics:
- See if there’s a solvable problem leading to the behaviors, such as a physical illness, medication complications, the need to use the rest room, environment-induced anxiety, etc.
- Remind yourself that the dementia is to blame, and answer patiently and gently, without overreacting or lashing out in frustration.
- Help the senior continue to be involved in appropriate activities in accordance with his / her specific interests. If the individual becomes agitated with a specific activity, change to something different, or relocate to a different room in the house or outdoors when possible.
- Pay attention to clothing choices if removing clothes at inappropriate times is a concern. If the older adult happens to be wearing pants without zippers for ease and comfort, you might switch to something a tad more challenging to remove when out in public, for example.
- Be certain that each of the individual’s physical needs are met to avoid problematic behaviors. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the house, keep a variety of healthy drinks and snacks handy, and encourage regular physical activity and movement.
- Offer proper physical contact frequently through hugs, holding the person’s hand, or rubbing his/her back, when welcomed by the senior, communicating reassurance to relieve anxiety.
It is also helpful to make sure that you have ample time for consistent breaks to tend to your personal self-care needs and relieve the stress that is commonly inherent in being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Continuum’s caregivers are professionally trained and experienced in effective, compassionate Alzheimer’s care, and are here for you with as much or as little respite care as is needed. Contact us online or call us at (314) 863-9912 to schedule a complimentary in-home assessment and learn more about our professional 24 hour home care in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. To find out more about all of the different areas that we serve in Missouri, please visit our Service Area page.