Most people are aware of how dementia affects a senior’s memory. However, many do not realize there are a variety of challenging behaviors that can develop as a result of the disorder. Jefferson County, CO, dementia care professionals discuss 5 of these behaviors and offer tips on how you can help your aging loved one manage them.
For seniors with dementia, hoarding may be a response to feelings of isolation, loss of control, or even fear someone will steal their belongings. Instead of trying to get rid of everything at once, try to organize things as much as possible so your loved one can navigate around the house safely. If you throw something away, be sure to take it off the premises so your loved does not dig through the trash to retrieve it.
Dementia typically causes personality changes and a loss of inhibitions. As a result, your loved one may start using language you would not expect him or her to use. Although it can be hurtful, try not to take any name-calling to heart. Determine if there is a physical need or something in the surroundings that is making your loved one agitated. You can also try to distract him or her with a favorite activity.
3. Physical Aggression
Seniors with dementia can lash out physically as a response to feeling angry, confused, or scared. You can minimize physical outbursts with the following techniques:
- Be sure your loved one is aware of your presence and what you are about to do
- Offer distractions by engaging in conversation or letting your loved one hold a favorite object
- Do not rush daily activities
- Pick and choose your battles; if something is not urgent, you can try again later
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
Repetitive behavior in dementia is usually the result of short-term memory loss or anxiety. In many cases, distraction and redirection to another activity can break the cycle. Antidepressants may also be beneficial in relieving obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Approximately 60 percent of seniors with dementia experience episodes of wandering. Your loved one may wander because of a physical need such as hunger or needing to go to the bathroom. You may be able to reduce wandering by providing your loved one with a structured routine and opportunities for physical activity. If the wandering continues, you may need to implement safety precautions such as door alarms and having your loved one wear an ID bracelet.
If helping your loved one manage dementia symptoms has become too overwhelming, turn to Jefferson County Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are experts in senior dementia care and can help your loved one maintain a daily routine by assisting with basic tasks like cooking, bathing, grooming, and exercise. For more information on the elder home care Jefferson County families trust and rely on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers today at (303) 987-5992.