December 16, 2016
Veterans Reform Package Expands Veterans Caregiver Program
Communicating with Your Loved One
Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s can be difficult and frustrating at times. Conversing with them takes patience. People with dementia can’t help the way they act and this can be hard to understand. The simple explanation is that their disease causes changes in their brain. It is important that you, as a caregiver, train yourself with some of the common circumstances that arise when someone has dementia. For example, if your loved one says something outrageous, then you will know how to handle the situation and act on it in a calm and effective manner. Try to always speak in a clear and naturally calm voice when talking to your loved one and talk about one thing at a time, in order to avoid confusion. Be a good listener and talk to your loved one in a non-distracting place so that they can focus all of their attention on your conversation.
Anger in Your Loved One
When someone with dementia has aggressive behavior, such as shouting, “I want to leave!,” or “I don’t want that!” it must be dealt with in a proper manner. As a caregiver, you must know that your loved one can’t help their outbursts. The Alzheimer’s Association says that those with dementia are most often triggered, when it comes to aggression, by discomfort or environmental factors, such as being in an unaccustomed situation, which can cause them to act out. It is important that you try your best to make your loved one not to feel scared or helpless, but instead, comfortable and content. However, if you do come across a situation where your loved one is freaking out over something, then you will want to identify the cause and calm them down in a peaceful manner and reassure them that everything will be alright. Another important tip to remember is that you must not show your loved one that you are frustrated or upset with them because engaging in an argument is the worst thing you can do because it will only make things worse.
Confusion in Your Loved One
If your loved one with dementia constantly asks questions that you have already answered, such as, “Where are we going?,” or “Why are we here?” be patient with them and respond appropriately. It is common for someone who has amnesia to want to go home. “Alzheimer’s causes progressive impairment to cognitive functioning and this is what creates the confusion and memory loss,” according to the Alzheimer’s Disease National Institute on Aging. As a caregiver, you must be understanding with your loved one if they are confused and keep asking questions about where they are. Obviously, you can answer all of your loved one’s questions to clarify any of their confusion, or you can go a step further and show them pictures of where they are going as a helpful reminder.
Poor Understanding and Judgment in Your Loved One
Cognitively helping your loved one who has dementia is crucial, especially when it comes to real life situations, such as paying bills, directions and transportation, repeating statements and even strong accusations, such as your loved one saying, “You stole my toaster!” According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “The deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s is a specific culprit in behaviors showing poor judgment or faults in thinking.” If your loved one accuses someone of stealing something, needs help doing simple tasks or anything else because of their poor judgement, then it is up to you to help your loved one without making them feel indignant. Simple ways of helping your loved one can be done without them even knowing about it. You can go through their finances, such as their bills and taxes, and check to see if everything is up-to-date and being paid. Try to encourage your loved one on staying organized and always offer to help in minor ways. As a caregiver, try to make sure that you are always being clam and patient with your loved one and not making them feel dumb by arguing with them and questioning their abilities because that could result in anger and an argument.
Overall, it is important to be understanding and composed with your loved one because they are not trying to frustrate you or make something more difficult on purpose. Enjoy the time you are given with your loved one and always do the best you can on handling your loved one’s dementia.
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