Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I'm talking about how to manage some of the symptoms and behaviors of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
One common frustration among family caregivers of Alzheimer's and dementia patients is their propensity to say no to just about everything. Because dementia impacts memory, reasoning and language, it's often hard for the person with dementia to understand what is being asked of them. So the easiest reaction is to say no.
Turning a no into a yes can be done by trying three times, three different ways. For example, you may start with a simple question. Second, you might add in some facts from their life story to remind them how and why they should do what is asked. Third, consider using physical cues such as taking him or her by the hand, pointing to what you need and then perhaps even offering a reward.
Patience and compassion, in these situations, are the key to success. The memory loss and confusion associated with dementia can also trigger bouts of anger. When facing a senior loved one, who is suddenly angry, first try taking a break from the conversation. Often times, after 5 or 10 minutes the anger will subside.
Next, try to determine what caused the anger to rise and then if possible avoid that pattern in the future. Sometimes, anger is the result of pain or illness that your loved one doesn't have the capacity to describe. So look for signs that your senior might not be feeling well such as holding or touching a particular part or area of his or her body.
Two other ways to deal with anger is by distraction such as bringing up a favorite story or simply apologizing, even if it isn't your fault. Certainly, dealing with these troubling behaviors can be hard, especially since you are doing all you can to be helpful, but a little patience and compassing can go a long way.