Senior Care in Tempe AZ
The cognitive dissonance or poor judgment attributed to worsening dementia can prove particularly challenging. These cognitive problems are common in those who suffer from dementia, and can manifest in false accusations and challenges with once simple tasks.
What Causes Cognitive Problems?
As dementia progresses, judgment will worsen. The cognitive impairment associated with dementia can lead those in senior care to develop false beliefs, which in turn can lead them to act in very strange ways. Sometimes, the confusion will simply arise from no longer being able to complete tasks they’ve always done easily. Further, a quarter of dementia patients will experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thoughts that will further heighten their sense of confusion and contribute to seemingly bizarre behavior. These symptoms are not a sign of ‘acting out’, but rather evidence of the slow deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s. In short, people who experience dementia have very little control over the way they perceive things. Often, they may not even be aware they have these challenges. To them, the behavior seems rational.
Signs to Look For:
- Hoarding household items, particularly if this is new behavior.
- Repetition of particular phrases or activities. As an example, they might feel it necessary to sweep the kitchen multiple times in a day.
- New challenges with finances: paying bills on time and accurately, counting money out while shopping, record-keeping, figuring out how much to tip at a restaurant.
- Paranoid statements or accusations, particularly of theft of possessions (that they may or may not own).
How to Respond
If you are able, keep an eye on financial records to ensure bills are being paid accurately and on time. Pay attention to what they say and daily habits they develop. If you see problems begin to develop, approach the subject with delicacy. Don’t demand to take over the handling of bills, for example, offer assistance in small ways, so they don’t feel their independence is being challenged. If accusations are being made, offer to look into it, help them locate the item they deem missing. For repetitive tasks and hoarding, gently remind them of their previous attempt or purchase.
Actions to Avoid
Remember that your loved ones are doing the best they are capable of and trying to retain their sense of dignity and control. Don’t question their ability to manage their affairs or argue their sense of reality with them. Instead, find ways to respond positively and redirect the train of thought. Help them regain some control by offering assistance, not by taking over. Avoid questions or actions that will make them feel challenged, as this will only result in anger and frustration and deepen their cognitive dissonance.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Tempe, AZ, contact the staff at Assisting Hands Home Care at (480) 725-7002.
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