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Remaining Calm When Faced with Dementia Related Behaviours

February 14, 2018 0 Comments

Behavioural changes in people with dementia are very common and may sometimes place stress on the people around them – particularly those with an emotional attachment, such as family members and health care providers. It’s human to feel frustrated when someone suddenly behaves in a different way, causing challenges with everyday activities that normally would be easy to achieve. In order to deal with these challenges, it can be easier if you understand why behaviour changes occur.

Dementia affects people in different ways and it is a result of a number of changes happening inside a person’s brain. These affect the person’s memory, mood, and behaviour. In some instances, a shift in behaviour can be a result of one’s environment, an external trigger, and even the medication they are taking.

Coping with changed behaviour can sometimes be difficult, however, always keep in mind that behaviour is not deliberate. Anger is often directed to family members and caregivers simply because they are always in close contact with the patient – not necessarily because the client / family member has an ‘issue’ with someone.
Having some strategies to deal with the unexpected behaviours can also be a way of coping with them…

Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with a person with dementia:

  • Create a calm and stress-free environment for the patient/client. Allow your client to become familiar with the environment and try not to change the setting too often. People with dementia can easily be upset if they find themselves in a strange environment, surrounded by a group of unfamiliar people.
  • Do not attempt to restrain them when their behaviour becomes difficult. It would be best to give them some space until they calm down. You’ve heard the statement “Get out of my face!” when someone is angry – well that’s exactly what you need to do. Avoid overcrowding (eg. restraining or cornering) someone who is angry. Give them space to breath. Obviously, this is context dependent… if someone is about to harm themselves or someone else, you would follow protocol for that scenario.
  • If your patient says or does something offensive to you, try not to take it personally. Avoid raising your voice, remain calm and speak with confidence and be assertive (not aggressive).
  • Don’t provoke or draw them into an argument.
  • Encourage your client to exercise – this will help to release stress and tension.
  • If the patient has a tendency to hoard ‘stuff’, provide a drawer or basket full of different things for the person to sort out. This can help satisfy their need to be busy.
Filed in: Care Tips

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