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Dealing with Dementia Patients

by SarahD on September 27, 2010 in Alzheimer

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Dementia and dealing with dementia patients can be an extremely difficult, frustrating, and heart-wrenching process.  Whether you’re dealing with the decline of a loved one or the person is merely a patient, there are few things worse than witnessing another human being’s loss of cognitive function.

And while confusion, memory loss, and language impairment can all be challenging to cope with, far trickier to manage is the alzheimers disease or dementia anger that often accompanies mental deterioration.  And it’s no wonder that this side affect follows other symptoms when you consider the frustration, fear, and helplessness felt by previously unimpaired individuals who are suddenly faced with dementia.

However, there are methods to diffuse spells of anger in this intermittent explosive disorder in order to protect yourself and your patient, as well as reducing stress and making the dealing with dementia patients  easier to manage, for everyone involved.

1.  Listen

Much of the time, patients who become angry do so because they feel that they are not being taken seriously.  Sometimes just listening to their complaints with a sympathetic ear can help them to feel validated and calm their angry reaction.  Plus, it may help you to gain a better understanding of what is causing outbursts in order to preempt them in the future.

2.  Propose alternative solutions

 Patients may become fixated on something they want and lash out when it is not forthcoming.  Of course, it is neither reasonable nor feasible to give them everything they want the second they want it.  Often you are faced with certain restrictions (time, money, circumstances, etc.) that preclude you from meeting their every desire.  So see if you can gently dissuade them by offering alternative anger management activities.

3.  Relinquish control (or the illusion of it)

 People with dementia or Alzheimer disease often suffer from feelings that their world is spinning out of control and their anger may stem from this.  In order to help them cope, you might want to offer them at least the illusion of control over their situation.  For example, you should treat their requests as valid and worthy of consideration.  However, rather than rushing to accommodate their every whim, have them come up with a plan to reach their goals, thus offering them control of the situation and taking the onus off you to jump every time they demand it.

4.  Use misdirection

  It may sound silly, but sometimes you must employ the same kinds of tactics you might use with a child.  Changing the subject and sending your dementia patient off in a different direction might just allow them to switch gears in order to avoid an outburst. - experimental psychology-  Knowing what they like and what will distract them can be an invaluable tool to cope with anger and dementia.

5.  Use body language to your benefit

If you become agitated, it will only make dealing with dementia patients worse.  So when dealing with a patient who is prone to anger, the est coping strategies are to stay calm and in control.  There’s no reason to become defensive.  Remember that this person is not really angry at you.  They are impaired and they may have little control over their emotions, and it is your job to help them.  You can best carry out your function by remaining relaxed, showing interest and sympathy, and offering solutions that appeal to them, without becoming angry yourself.

find more info on dealing with dementia patients : caregiver.org

Alzheimer disease : alz.org

 

Sarah Danielson is a writer for Pickup Artist where you can find great tips and advice on dating.

 

 

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