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Dementia Care Dos & Don’ts: Dealing with Dementia Behavior Problems

home care for dementia

Dementia is a commonly misunderstood disease that impacts millions of people every year. The numerous misconceptions about dementia contribute to the widespread notion that dementia is a confusing illness to learn about and understand.

Dementia is not an illness in and of itself. Rather, dementia is a broad term used to describe a spectrum of symptoms related to the decline of cognition, memory, and thinking skills. The deteriorating effects often impact the ability for individuals to perform basic tasks and engage in everyday activities.

Common types of dementia include, but aren’t limited to, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. While the forms of dementia may vary greatly, the common denominator that collectively links these forms is the sharp decline in cognitive functionality. Individuals suffering from dementia experience an array of debilitating symptoms where there is a decline in intellect, rational thought, normal emotional reactivity, social skills, and memory.

The multitude of symptoms experienced by individuals afflicted with dementia often makes them powerless in terms of living healthy, normal lives. Unable to act or react appropriately to people, places, and a wide variety of things, dementia sufferers often feel lost and alone. Understanding the symptoms and experiences of those who carry the burden of dementia will help you to better assist these individuals.

Read on below to learn about how you can help those struggling with dementia, as well as the dos and don’ts of dealing with dementia-related behavior and its many associated challenges.

Aggressive, oppositional, and violent behaviors

Aggressive, oppositional, and violent behaviors are among the most difficult behaviors to deal with when it comes to caring for those with dementia. Dementia in the mid-to-late stages can often present behavioral problems that can prove to be difficult and frustrating.  It is important to know this sort of behavior is actually an agitated response from the individual to the feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, and paranoia

Aggression is trigger-based. Often, those suffering from dementia will be triggered by feelings of physical and emotional discomfort. The feelings of discomfort can arise with the presence of unfamiliar situations and being forced to do things that the person does not want to do (ex. take a shower). It is important to remember that aggression is born from fear and as a response to feeling frightened, people with dementia will often exhibit aggressive behavior on a verbal and physical level.

Do: Identify the causes behind aggressive behavior and shift the focus in a calm, respectful, and caring manner.

Don’t: Don’t force the issue that is provoking the aggressive behavior from the person with dementia. Using force will only serve to worsen the situation by escalating the level of fear that the person feels.

Aside from dealing with the critical issue of violent behavior from those suffering from dementia, there are strategies that you can implement to make life far easier for both yourself and for the person you are taking care of.

Listed below are some easy things you can do today to help facilitate your dementia caretaking experience:

  • Do: Use redirection as a means to calm and soothe. People suffering from dementia often become unpredictable, anxious and upset. Using redirection as a way to calm and sooth the person will make both of your lives easier by providing a much more manageable experience.
  • Do: Brighten a dementia sufferer’s day by encouraging the recall of happy memories and engaging in activities that are familiar to the person.
  • Do: Pay attention to the memories, activities, and strategies that prove to be effective with the person suffering from dementia. When you discover a concept that works to make the caretaking experience more manageable for you both, take note of it and use the strategy for future implementation.

While there are plenty of things you can do to make the experience of caring for someone with dementia significantly easier, there are also a few things you should not do.

Listed below are some critical things you can avoid during your caretaking experience:

  • Don’t: Do not take things personally. A person with dementia will almost inevitably say hurtful things, engage in harmful and violent behavior, and act in ways that make little sense to the people around them. Remain aware of dementia’s nature and don’t take the words and actions of a dementia sufferer to heart.
  • Don’t: It is futile and fruitless to escalate arguments. Don’t engage in an argument with a person suffering from dementia. Doing so will only serve to escalate the situation and increase levels of tension and anxiety within the person with dementia. Remember that dementia sufferers are often not operating on logic and rationale.
  • Don’t: Don’t try to use the concept of logic with a person who has dementia. With dementia, a person’s brain begins to operate on a different plane. Feelings are paramount to dementia sufferers; they want to feel content and comfortable within their surroundings. Remember that before trying to employ logic in what will inevitably be a losing argument with the person suffering from dementia.

Caring for someone with dementia can be a daunting task that is both exhausting and confusing. Knowing the right strategies to use and the critical things you should avoid can serve to make your caretaking experience significantly easier. Using a calm and relaxed approach with the strategies above will serve to help you take the best care possible of a person with dementia.

Visit skylarkseniorcare.com today for more information, tips, and advice about dementia day care.  We are also available via phone at 404-975-2848 and through email via our website’s contact form.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Treatment and Home Care Options

We all can be forgetful.  As we age, our memory and our cognitive abilities change.  Many elderly citizens may experience a slight loss of memory.  When memory loss becomes more pronounced and  affects one’s daily life and functionality, it could be a symptom of dementia.

As we age the risk of developing dementia increases, but dementia is specific and can be diagnosed. Many things can cause memory loss, cognitive decline, hearing loss, or dementia-like symptoms, which are caused by something else entirely.

What is Dementia?

The term “dementia” refers to a general decline of one’s mental ability which is prominent enough to disrupt one’s daily routine and life. Dementia is the generic term for memory loss. There are many different causes of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes.  Stroke is another common cause of dementia.  Thinking, planning, recalling, and engaging are all skills that can deteriorate over time because of dementia.

Each person experiences dementia differently.  For some, especially if stroke is the cause of the dementia, the individual might experience a relatively static decline.  Subsequent strokes may well increase memory loss.

For others who have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Louis Bodies disease, the memory loss is likely to become progressively worse.  The rate of decline is different for each individual who goes through dementia. For some, the rate of mental decline is very quick, but for others, it may take many years to observe significant changes.

If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of dementia or general memory loss contact your doctor for treatment recommendations.

Causes of Dementia

There is a wide range of causes which can alter the brain resulting in dementia. Some of the common causes are listed below:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Head injuries
  • Strokes
  • Tumors

In rare instances, dementia can be caused by a factor which is treatable. Below are some of the most treatable causes of dementia:

  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Underactive thyroid gland (Hypothyroid)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Fluid build-up on the brain
  • Depression
  • Incorrect medication dosage and mixing pharmaceuticals

People on strong prescription drugs can often seem to become more and more forgetful or absent-minded because of the chemical combinations in their brain. This can be caused by a combination of prescriptions, OTC, vitamins, and other supplements. Speak to your doctor about the cognitive medication side effects or symptoms and how to increase cognitive abilities in your day-to-day life.

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia

Dementia can take form as Alzheimer’s disease but does not always do so. Alzheimer’s is a specific form of brain deterioration which affects memory, speech, cognitive abilities, and functionality in daily life. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s will get worse over time and will eventually require supervised care for the individual. Medication is available for treatment which will help to slow the symptoms and progression of the disease plus increasing the longevity and quality of life.

Care Facilities

Over time, those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s will require more and more care. Many dementia patients who suffer from severe memory loss will eventually require long-term care in a specialized living environment. However, before that is necessary, options are available to provide home care or adult day care.

The features and benefits of an adult day memory care center, in Atlanta or elsewhere, are the services which are provided. Social programs, physical exercise programs, and medication management are all standard operations of a memory care center.

The Atlanta area has some of the best senior care and adult day care centers in the state of Georgia. However, relocating yourself or a loved one is not always necessary. In fact, staying in a familiar setting can be very beneficial in maintaining a safe and caring environment for someone who is suffering from signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Seek out senior home care providers near you to see what services and options are available.

If you live in metro Atlanta, one such senior home care service which specializes in memory care is Skylark Senior Care. Call a representative of Skylark Senior Care to discuss how you or your loved ones daily life can be improved by a home care professional.

Through adult day care, home care, or a combination, Skylark offers seniors the choice to stay in their homes while receiving treatment. The Skylark staff will work with the care receiver to create an individualized treatment plan specific to one’s individual needs and desires.

Skylark Home Care

(404) 410-1510
4265 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B
Johns Creek, GA 30024

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Senior care facilities in metro Atlanta empower senior citizens to stay active in their daily lives. This can give the gift of a maintained integrity and self-image in the later stages of dementia. Residents of memory care centers interact in a supervised, comfortable, and dignified environment.

The memories which we cherish are never lost or forgotten as long as we continue to give love and care to the ones who need it. There is no cure for dementia, however, there are treatments available and care facilities which can increase your loved one’s quality of life and integrity through these challenges. Consider home care and adult day care facilities in metro Atlanta, which can make a world of difference.