Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can often mean learning how to handle a variety of new behaviors that may have been uncharacteristic of that individual before their condition started to progress. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s can experience emotions that they normally wouldn’t, while also losing their communication skills to tell a caregiver about what they’re experiencing, which can potentially lead to a lot of difficult Alzheimer’s behavior.
In the early stages, someone with Alzheimer’s may experience new feelings of anxiety, depression, or irritability. However, as their Alzheimer’s progresses, they may experience unexplained anger, physical or verbal outbursts, or general emotional distress. As the person you care for begins to display more difficult Alzheimer’s behavior, it’s important that you, as a caregiver, are equipped with reasonable, constructive responses, which is often easier said than done.
As communication becomes more difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s, as a caregiver, it’s often most helpful to try to identify what might be causing the behavior they are displaying. Think about what could be triggering the behavior, and move forward from there. As you start to respond, remember that it’s always best to stay calm and to respond in a supportive, reassuring way as to not exacerbate the behavior.
Here are a few examples of some common causes of difficult Alzheimer’s behavior and how you, as a caregiver, can respond:
Fatigue can cause a variety of behaviors from someone with Alzheimer’s, including fear, agitation, and aggression. As a caregiver, try to keep calm, and make whatever adjustments needed to their day so that they can get more rest.
Aging adults can experience discomfort from illnesses, medication side effects, etc., and understandably, this can make them more irritable or uncooperative than usual. You can help by trying to identify what may be causing the discomfort, and if it’s a quick fix, make the necessary adjustments. If the discomfort is being caused by a side effect of a medicine they require, consider consulting their doctor to see if there are any alternatives.
Frustrations with Tasks
Sometimes, daily tasks and activities can be overwhelming to someone with Alzheimer’s, causing them to get frustrated and to shut down. As a caregiver, staying patient and supportive is the best way to keep them encouraged and keep their spirits up to complete the task. And if all else fails, remember that it’s OK to have a change of plans and to move on to another activity that they may enjoy more.
All in all, dealing with difficult Alzheimer’s behavior is often about remembering that the person with Alzheimer’s isn’t being disagreeable for the sake of it. They’re just experiencing the effects of their conditions. With that in mind, taking the time to identify the trigger of the behavior, and working patiently and calmly to help them as best as you can, will make a great difference.
At Home Care Assistance, our expert caregivers are well versed in helping people manage difficult Alzheimer’s behavior. Our respite care in Raleigh, NC and the nearby areas has a strong reputation of providing excellent care for the families we serve, and we can do that for you today! If you’d like to hear more about our services, contact us online or at 919-436-1871.