August 10, 2016
St. Louis family caregivers who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s know all too well the variety of complex behaviors that dementia can cause, and one of the most puzzling and frustrating behaviors to deal with can be the changes in temperament – the transfiguration from that good-natured, patient person into a disagreeable, mean-spirited bully. The emotional trauma those personality shifts can cause are often devastating, particularly for a family member who has been providing dedicated, selfless dementia care for the senior.
Trying not to take these troubling behaviors personally, as hard as that may be, and to remember that the person is usually reacting out of fear or frustration, is very important. These tips can help diffuse an angry situation and restore peace:
- Stay calm. Your loved one may feel your elevated agitation and become more agitated as well – and similarly, is more likely to become calm if you stay level-headed. Minimizing any commotion and attempting to shift the person’s attention to something enjoyable can improve the situation.
- Provide reassurance. Refrain from arguing with your loved one, even though it may be a first instinct, and use a quiet, comforting and slow tone of voice. Consider what may be causing the frustration, such as pain, overstimulation, or anxiety, so you can take care of those feelings.
- Remember what caused the dementia behavior. You can minimize or possibly avoid a future behavioral issue altogether by taking notes and learning from the experience. Keep a diary of what happened, when it happened, and what worked (or didn’t work).
It’s of utmost importance for St. Louis family caregivers to also save some time for themselves to renew energy and refresh their minds, especially after agitating dementia care episodes with their loved one. Continuum provides dementia care at home to seniors throughout St. Louis County and is on hand to provide compassionate, patient, experienced Alzheimer’s and dementia care, offering much needed respite for families. Call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to learn more about our dementia care services.