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Dealing with Common Dementia Care Situations #2

Aldersmead Care Home Resident drinks tea

It’s common for difficult situations to arise when caring for someone suffering from dementia. It can be equally tough for the individual as it is for the carer or families. Dementia sufferers often have communication issues which can make caring difficult and upsetting.

Behaviour can be challenging and hard to understand and is not uncommon for dementia sufferers to become aggressive without much warning. If such situations arise make sure you remember that it’s not your fault and is due to their condition.

Learning effective ways to deal with difficult behaviour can give you the confidence to respond effectively when testing dementia care situations occur.

Someone suffering with dementia will often exhibit confusion regarding a place or time. This is more commonly seen in the mid-to-late stages of dementia where challenging behavioural issues are more common place. Such confusion can even lead to aggressive or violent behaviour, stemming from feelings of anger, confusion, fear, paranoia and sadness.

One of the most upsetting factors relating to dementia care is limited communication. This can be equally upsetting for the sufferers as it is for those caring for a loved one who may be suffering with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

A common situation whereby a dementia sufferer experiences confusion and frustration is their inability to understand why they can’t go home. Alzheimer’s causes progressive damage to cognitive function resulting in memory loss and confusion regarding their surroundings.

If you find yourself in a situation whereby an individual demonstrates confusion regarding their location, there are couple of effective ways to respond. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests giving the individual tangible reminders such as photos to help ease and relax them. Alternatively you could refrain from replying to their confused statements and instead divert their attention onto another task, such as going for a walk or having a snack.

It’s best to avoid providing dementia sufferers with lengthy explanations or reasons why you may be doing something with them. This will only add to their confusion and likely over complicate the situation.

Some individuals feel great fear and paranoia, causing them to feel a temporary moment of unsafeness. Some psychologists explain this as the sufferer attempting to find their way back to a place they feel they had greater control in their life. If you are unable to reassure an individual, you could respond with reasons why they can’t do something. For instance, you may explain there is bad traffic or terrible weather to an individual who wants to go home. This may help them better understand.

Some individuals may even get confused by the time of day and not understand why they’re unable to go outside during the middle of the night. Someone suffering with dementia may have difficulty trusting others, and even after showing a sufferer that it is dark outside, may not believe the time. The recommended care advice for this situation would be to distract the person, and offer them something else to do or try and begin a new topic of discussion to distract their thoughts.

The best dementia care advice that anyone can be offered is to familiarise yourself with some common situations that occur. So if your loved one expresses any of the emotions linked to confusion caused by the disease then you’ll know how to respond in a calm and reassuring manner. Although it can be a very difficult time for anyone, one thing you must understand is that the disease itself causes these changes in the brain. In such moments, individuals will feel lost and fearful and you need to reassure them they are safe.

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