J B Buckley
As if it werenít enough to deal with forgetfulness and confusion while
caring for your loved-one with Alzheimerís, but aggressiveness,
wandering and paranoia can really put you over the edge. Managing your
loved-oneís difficult behavior is your true testament of love and
devotion. You know it isnít their fault, it is their disease that is
making them scream, cry or yell terrible things out at you. Who ever said
patience is a virtue, didnít care for a loved-one with Alzheimerís or
dementia. Perhaps a caregiverís only defense is to understand how to
react to difficult behaviors and be ready for them.
Difficult behaviors can be broken down into the following categories:
Wandering, Sleeping and Eating Problems, Agitation, Paranoia and
difficulty with personal tasks. This is not to say these categories are
the only forms of behavioral problems displayed by people living with
Alzheimerís, but their remedies may intersect other problems.
Wandering is not an uncommon hallmark of Alzheimerís disease or
dementia. Stress in the variety of noise, clutter or crowding can cause
your loved-one to wander. The best idea is to reduce excess stress. A
person living with Alzheimerís disease should be settled in a quiet,
clean, and spacious environment. This will eliminate many of the unwanted
stressors, which could cause your loved-one to wander. Other reasons why
your loved-one may wander include: Feelings of being lost, boredom, need
to use the restroom or medication side effects.
In order to prevent your loved-one from feeling lost or foreign to his
or her environment, provide them with familiar objects and reassure them
quite frequently that they are at home or in a safe place. Maybe a family
photo or an award he or she has won always jogs their memory so keep it
close by. If your loved-one displays signs of boredom, give them a task of
limited difficulty. This will keep them entertained but wonít frustrate
them. Folding laundry is a great activity for people living with
Alzheimerís or dementia.
It is possible that your loved-one is wandering because they need to
use the bathroom. In which case, place elaborate signs or pictures on
bathroom doors to help guide them. Also, it is a good idea for you to
implement regular toilet times. This will keep both of you on schedule. If
your loved-one is wandering due to medication side effects, contact their
physician to initiate a change in prescription or to lower the dosage.
Wandering can be a dangerous behavior. Caregivers should contact their
local Alzheimerís Association to obtain information about ĎThe
Wanderers Programí in their area.
People living with Alzheimerís or dementia often experience sleeping
and eating problems. Common causes for these problems include: discomfort,
medication, pain, dehydration, depression and excessive sleeping or