Behavioral changes are an expected part of dementia but that doesn’t make them any less unsettling or challenging for family members to manage. Dementia makes it progressively more difficult for aging adults to communicate, think clearly and remember seemingly simple things. As a degenerative disease, it is normal for the individual to undergo changes in their temperament and behavior, both on a large scale and on a daily basis.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with behavior changes is to stay positive and patient. This is a real challenge when you are the primary caregiver of someone with a progressive disease. When you’re feeling tense, relax, take a deep breath, and exude a happy, peaceful feeling. However, if you feel constantly overwhelmed and fear you may be expressing symptoms of Caregiver Stress or Burnout – social withdrawal, loss of interest, depression, decline in health, irritability – it may be time to get the help of a Palm Beach County dementia care specialist from Home Care Assistance. Consistency of care is key when looking after an aging adult with dementia.
Although it may seem that individuals suffering from dementia would not notice changes to their routine, due to their level of confusion and disengagement, maintaining a structure to the day is an effective way of dealing with behavior changes. Live-in caregivers and family members should work together with the aging parent to establish a daily routine, while also occasionally adding in social events, exercise and regular outings.
The affected individual may not be up for much physical activity, but it’s important to encourage movement and social engagement on a daily basis. These things could be as simple as walking outside together to get the mail and telling stories over breakfast.
When speaking with someone suffering from behavior changes due to dementia, minimize distractions. If the person is sitting down, crouch or sit beside them so you are at eye level, turn down the television or radio, and address them by name. Ask simple questions or make straightforward statements, leaving them time to reply before continuing.
Behavior changes associated with dementia are one of the biggest obstacles faced by family members, but taking proactive steps to adjust to these changes will make this time easier to navigate.
For more information on the dementia care program offered through Home Care Assistance in Palm Beach County, Florida, call 561-429-8292.