Dementia has wide-reaching impacts on the health of individuals and the emotional wellbeing of their loved ones. Caring for a dementia patient requires special considerations related to their thoughts, emotions, and personal care.
Helping a person with dementia navigate their confusion and defusing their feelings of anger makes it easier for the patient and caretaker. The following are 3 tips to help you handle a dementia patient.
Dementia patients experience confusion over time. Caretakers must find ways to help guide them without creating further confusion or other issues. If a patient seems confused, it’s important to offer simple instructions and explanations to help provide clarity.
Physical reminders such as photographs or familiar items can help patients feel less confused. Confusion can occur when the patient is moved from one location to another. Help guide the patient during any relocations to make it easier for them.
It’s also helpful to provide activities that take their mind off of whatever is causing confusion. A simple walk or meal can be especially useful during these moments.
Avoid trying to provide clarity with detailed and long explanations. Attempting to appeal to the patient’s reasoning doesn’t always work and can cause more confusion or frustration.
Anger and aggression are common symptoms among patients with dementia. As a caretaker, it’s important to understand that the patient’s anger is unintentional and not a result of anything you’ve done wrong.
Feelings of anger can be triggered by a number of factors including a change in environment, confusion, or physical pain. The anger that dementia patients display can also come from a sense of fear.
The first step in defusing this anger is to determine what has caused it. This helps you redirect their attention and reduce the feelings that are causing the aggressive behavior. Keeping a calm demeanor is essential when confronting an angry patient.
But keep in mind that trying to calm someone down may create more anger and aggression. In many cases, patients need space and time in order for the feelings to dissipate.
Patients with dementia can often wander, making it unsafe if they’re not supervised. They may feel a need to search for an object or simply walk off out of boredom. Again, determining the reason for this behavior is the key to preventing any issues.
Providing an outlet for physical activity such as exercise helps reduce feelings of boredom and inactivity. If a person’s safety is at risk, ensure that all exits are secured and monitored.
Caring for a patient with dementia presents a number of challenges to the caretaker. Minimizing any sense of confusion and feeling of anger can be difficult. But knowing what steps to take provides comfort and safety to the patient.
Giving the patient a number of activities throughout the day will provide a healthy, physical outlet, and will reduce the likelihood of having that person wander off. Taking these steps helps to establish a safe and secure environment for both the patient and the caretaker.
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