Dementia is such a difficult disease for family caregivers to deal with. It requires a lot of time to make certain someone with the disease has everything they need to be safe, physically healthy, and happy. And, because dementia is progressive, you can expect symptoms to get worse.
Difficult behaviors will begin to pop up that many caregivers aren’t sure how to deal with. Knowing about some of the challenging behaviors you may encounter and what to do about them can help you to be prepared ahead of time. Below are three of the challenging behaviors many older adults with dementia exhibit and some suggestions for managing them.
Many people with dementia wander. Sometimes it just causes them to walk aimlessly around the house. But, often, it causes them to wander away from the house and get lost. Not only is being lost frightening for the senior and their family members, but it can also result in a serious injury or even death. Why people wander isn’t well understood. It may be that they are looking for someone or something. They could also be trying to follow routines from their past, like going to work or school.
If your aging relative wanders, it is extremely important that they are supervised during all hours of the day. In addition, it can help to keep them busy with activities during the day. Staying busy gives them something to do besides wandering during the day and can tire them out so they sleep better at night. Also, inform the senior’s neighbors about their condition and that they may wander. Ask them to watch for the older adult being outside on their own and to alert you if they are.
2: Delusions, Hallucinations, and Paranoia
A delusion is when the older adult believes something that isn’t true, like that a caregiver stole from them. A hallucination is sensing something that isn’t there, like seeing someone or something that doesn’t exist. Paranoia is a feeling that something or someone is after them.
If these behaviors occur, report them to the senior’s doctor since they may be able to prescribe something to help. Don’t argue with the person about what they see or believe as it won’t do any good and may upset them more. Instead, reassure them that they are safe.
Dementia can cause older adults to do or say something over and over. They may do this because they have forgotten they already did it or because they are looking for a sense of familiarity. Whatever the reason, repetition can be pretty annoying for family caregivers.
If you can understand the emotion that might be causing the behavior, it might help you to feel less frustrated by it. You may be able to distract the senior for the behavior.
Elderly care can help to deal with all of these dementia behaviors and more. An elderly care provider can be hired to watch over your aging relative when family caregivers are not available or need a break. Elderly care providers can offer the elder adult activities that keep them busy, entertained, and happy, which may lessen some of the challenging behaviors.