There are various stages of Alzheimer’s, all of which vary per person as to the degree of severity and which behavioral issues your parent may be exhibiting. For some, there will be very little behavioral changes. For others, wandering, aggressive tendencies and hallucinations may be the norm. There are many that have come before you in caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s. Here is what worked for them.
When problem behavior does erupt, it’s important to remember that this is not your parent’s personality exhibiting itself; this is due to a disease that is affecting your parent’s brain. Things to consider: what happened just before their behavior changed? Were they trying to communicate and became frustrated? Did they lose their train of thought during a conversation and become confused? Understanding what triggers their behavioral responses can help you keep those triggers to a minimum.
Remembering not to take any of their behavior personally will help you to respond to it in an appropriate manner that does not instigate further behavioral issues on their part. As with most people, what is said is only a fragment of what is communicated. Most of where communication resides is in the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Do not respond to aggression with aggression. Instead, remain calm and focused on your concern for your parent. Make sure their basic needs have been met such as thirst, hunger and need to go to the restroom. With practice and focused attention, your response can help soothe your parent and reduce aggression.
Causes of Agitation
There are certain situations that have been shown to produce angst in those with Alzheimer’s. These include unfamiliar surroundings, loud noises, stressful environments, difficulty performing a task, difficulty in communications and physical discomfort. Take a look at these potential stressors and see if there are any areas that need to be addressed.
How to Help
Keeping your loved one’s schedule routine helps them develop a sense of continuity. Keep their environment as stress-free as possible and limit background noise. Make sure everyone that visits understands the need to remain calm despite circumstances. Involve your loved one with the daily activities of living as much as possible and include at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for those that are capable. Make sure to truly connect with them on a daily basis.
Elderly Care Provider
An elderly care provider can help care for your parent when you can’t be there. The effects of Alzheimer’s can be trying to both the person suffering from it and those caring for them. Knowing your loved one is in good hands while you take some time off to recharge is in both of your best interests. And the camaraderie that develops between an elderly care provider and those they care for is a priceless commodity in the days ahead.