One of the hardest parts of being a family caregiver to someone with dementia is that the disease changes the way the older adult behaves. It can be very hard to see your elderly grandfather who was always a sweet, gentle man scream or yell. And, having someone follow you around the house, even into the bathroom, can be frustrating. When difficult behaviors due to dementia crop up, reminding yourself of the things below can help it be easier to cope with them.
Nothing the Older Adult Does or Says is Personal
One of the reasons some dementia behaviors are hard for family caregivers to deal with is that they can feel like personal attacks. The older adult might scream at you or even become physically aggressive. Reminding yourself that these kinds of behaviors are symptoms caused by the disease and not personal can help you to deal with the senior’s actions instead of being upset by them.
Look for the Cause
Difficult behaviors are often caused by something, like discomfort or a need the senior cannot express, such as hunger. When you can determine what is bothering the older adult, you may be able to stop the behavior. For example, if the senior is wandering, they might feel restless because of a lack of exercise or they may be looking for something, like the bathroom or a snack.
If All Else Fails, Use Distraction
When you’ve tried to stop the behavior by addressing an underlying issue and are unsuccessful, a distraction may work. Think about what your older family member enjoys doing, like doing a puzzle or watching a favorite show. Try to get them involved in that. You may also be able to distract them with music or their favorite snack. You might also be able to get them involved in reminiscing by asking a question about a cherished object or picture.
Help is Available
Sometimes the best way to deal with the challenges of being a caregiver to an older family member with dementia is to take a break from it. Elderly care can offer you the time you need away from the older adult while also knowing they are self and well cared for. Elderly care providers can make certain the senior is safe, comfortable, and entertained. An elderly care provider can cook balanced meals, encourage the senior to participate in activities, and monitor them to prevent unsafe behaviors.
If you or an aging loved one needs Elderly Care in Elk Grove, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.