Many individuals with dementia experience behavioral changes during the course of the disease. They often become anxious, agitated, and repetitive with speech and activities. As dementia progresses, behaviors may seem impulsive, inappropriate and even aggressive. Because these changes are unpredictable, they can become stressful for inexperienced family caregivers. If you provide care for a senior with dementia in West Bloomfield, understanding the cause of these unusual behaviors can help you determine how to best provide the appropriate level and type of care.
- Wandering – You may notice that your aging loved one continuously walks, for what appears to be no apparent reason. While a single cause is difficult to pinpoint, possibilities include side effects from medication, the need to look for someone, or your loved one may just be bored. Learning what triggers wandering will take time, but identifying what may initiate the activity can help caregivers take precautions to relieve some of the associated concerns. Families may also want to provide their loved one with ID bracelet, keep a current photo available, and label their clothing, all things which will assist in locating the senior should they wander too far.
- Agitation – Agitation with dementia can vary from mild irritability to physical aggression. As the dementia progresses, intensity of the agitation may also increase. There are several reasons that can prompt this behavior. Using a kind voice, gentle touch, soft music, or even going for a walk may help ease agitation or reduce the severity of it. This behavior can be particularly hurtful for a family member, and some opt for professional assistance when agitation arises. A professional West Bloomfield caregiver is trained in how to manage dementia symptoms including agitation and aggressive behavior, providing the required care while ensuring comfort for the senior.
- Repetitive Speech or Activity – Repeating questions, words, or activities (also known as perseveration), is a common behavior related to dementia. Typically, this is not a harmful action, but can become stressful to a caregiver. Patience and reassurance are the two best responses for perseveration. Ignoring the questions and redirecting to a positive activity may also be beneficial, just be sure to avoid pointing out the fact that the same question was just asked.
Dealing with changes in behavior can be difficult, and is sometimes a matter of trial and error. One thing to remember is the behavior is not intentional. Your friend or family member has no control and they are probably frightened by it. Although it may not appear this way, continuous reassurance is what your loved one needs the most.
If you are overwhelmed by your care responsibilities, contact Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home health care in West Bloomfield. We deliver dementia care in the comfort of our client’s home, allowing them to stay within a familiar, safe and comfortable environment. Learn more about our specialized dementia care plans by calling 248-283-0835 and don’t forget to ask about our unique in-home dementia program, the Cognitive Therapeutics Method.