Dementia touches the lives of so many people and the neurodegenerative disorder known Alzheimer’s is the most common form of this disease.
Coping with Alzheimer’s can be extremely challenging and distressing if you are seeing a loved one change from the personality that you know so well.
The condition also creates a situation where their daily lives feature a number of problems that they have to overcome as Alzheimer’s takes hold and this may cause them to become frustrated, angry, confused and disorientated.
Here is a look at some of the potential lifestyle changes that may need to be made in order for an Alzheimer’s patient to enjoy the best possible quality of life in the circumstances.
Finding specialized care
Depending on the individual diagnosis as to what stage your loved one has reached with this progressive condition it could be the case that they need to receive 24-hour care.
You should be able to find a residential care option that is specifically tailored to meet the needs of Alzheimer’s patients rather than offering general nursing care.
These facilities are designed to create a secure and supportive environment which gives them the best chance of enjoying a good quality of life and allows them to feel less stressed if their needs are being taken care of around the clock.
Understanding anxiety levels
When you are in the company of someone with dementia it is likely that you will witness them displaying a certain level of anxiety and unease.
A large percentage of patients tend to experience a level of anxiety and this may be higher in some than others.
This heightened level of anxiousness can often trigger other behaviors such as a noticeable level of aggression and restlessness, prompting them to wander around rather than be happy to sit down quietly.
The best approach to defusing the situation and helping them to calm down is to try and work out what it is that is causing them to feel anxious so that you can take steps to address the problem.
For instance, a patient might need to go to the bathroom and this is making them upset because they can’t remember how to put that right.
Confusion levels are higher than normal
It is a standard response for an Alzheimer’s patient to feel confused, in general, but what you need to be wary of is when that level of confusion reaches heightened levels.
If you notice a dramatic change in their confusion levels over a matter of hours, or even during the course of a couple of days, it is suggested that you seek medical help as soon as possible.
The reason for getting them checked over by a medical professional is to eliminate the possibility that they are suffering from delirium. This is when their health problems exert too much stress on their brain and it can also be a potential indication that they have a serious illness beyond their dementia diagnosis.
Another key sign to look out of is when their temperature reaches fever level, which is 99F or higher.
There are a number of strategies that you can use to try and calm a dementia patient without resorting to using medication.
Probably the most important of those tactics is to find a way to offer them a level of reassurance that allows them to become less stressed and calmer.
What you need to understand is that there is no prospect of changing the way they are with the condition so they way to improve the situation involves you making the required changes to their environment by putting yourself in their position and thinking how you would someone to treat you.
It might be upsetting you to see them behave in this way but the key is to keep your feelings under control and concentrate on finding a way to reassure them.
Identify the possible causes
Someone who has Alzheimer’s could easily struggle to remember where they have left something they want to use, such as their glasses, and the problem is that because they are unlikely to have the cognitive ability to work backward and remember where they left them, it creates an adverse reaction.
Being unable to recall previous steps in the way most of us take for granted can lead to extreme behavior such as anger or even an accusation that someone must have stolen the item in question.
It is best not to question these accusations and, instead, focus on providing the solution they are looking for so that they calm down.
Change of scenery
There may be a potential series of triggers that lead a patient to get stressed and angry and the ket is to notice their regular behavior and try and spot if there is something in particular that they react to every time.
You will soon learn how to redirect their attention in order to improve their behavior and reduce their stress levels.
One of the best ways to do this is often to create a change of scenery.
Don’t try to physically remove them from their current environment. It is better to encourage them to follow you or offer to show them something in the garden, for instance, so that you can help them feel calmer as a result of a change of scenery.
Don’t try to do it alone
Coping with someone who has behavioral problems as a result of their dementia is always going to be emotionally and even physically challenging and it is always good to reach out for help and support to help you manage better.
Ther are likely to be local Alzheimer’s support groups you could join and you may need to seek out the help of a dementia care professional who can provide the guidance and assistance that may be required.
In particular, be sure to seek extra help if you are being subjected to violent outbursts or levels of aggression that you are unable to contend with. It is not their fault that they are behaving in this way but it does require lifestyle changes and support to be able to feel that you can provide the love and care that their condition demands.