Early signs of memory disorders are very vague and subtle so they may not be immediately obvious. The behaviors attributed to dementia are usually linked to several triggers including complicated tasks, fear or frustrations, pain or discomfort, over-stimulation or boredom, and unfamiliar surroundings. Here are the common dementia-related behaviors and how you should address them.
Restlessness and disorientation are two precursors to wandering. A person with dementia can show signs of restlessness when in pain, thirsty, hungry, or constipated. They can also exhibit disorientation, or they wander or pace about when anxious, bored, stressed from an uncomfortable situation, or from a lack of exercise. Apart from having more physical activity for your loved ones, you can also instantly channel restlessness or pacing into a productive activity. Reassure your loved one if they face disorientation. Divert their attention with another activity at the time when wandering occurs most. You can also reduce noise and confusion by turning off the television, closing the curtains, or moving them to a quieter environment.
Confusion or Suspicion
Hallucinations could be due to your loved one’s failing senses and you can reduce the recurrence by keeping calmness in the environment. However, when it does happen, don’t argue over the authenticity of your loved one’s illusions. Instead, respond to the emotional content and offer simple answers to any accusations. You can also create distractions with other activities like going on walks.
During your loved one’s angry outburst, don’t directly confront them or attempt to discuss their behavior as they can’t reflect on their behavior and control it. Don’t also initiate physical contact as it may exacerbate physical violence, give your loved one the space to play the aggression out alone. Rather, distract your loved one with a more pleasurable activity. It’s crucial to identify the patterns in the aggression so you can avoid triggering the behavior.
Your loved one may have visible weight loss due to malnutrition resulting from not eating or drinking enough. It can be difficult, but try to encourage them to exercise more to improve their appetite. Do also monitor their medications as the side effects may cause a poor appetite and a dry mouth. Make mealtimes a more pleasing experience by preparing their favorite foods, adding table decorations, or playing soothing music. Also, monitor their chewing and swallowing, and when necessary, transition to soft foods if they face any difficulties.
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Providing care for a loved one with dementia can be exceedingly straining and tiring. As their condition deteriorates, the challenges can only get more demanding. If you find yourself needing a break or unable to care for your loved one for varying reasons, our SHINE® Memory Care program offers exclusive care for our residents with memory-related problems. Our professional team of highly experienced caregivers will do their utmost to ensure your loved ones are fully cared for and lead a good quality of life. Do contact us for more information about our memory care program.