March 26, 2019

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Creating the right environment for someone who is living with dementia

March 26, 2019

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Some helpful tips for dealing with Dementia related behaviours

February 12, 2019

 

Agitation/Anxiety

People with dementia will eventually become restless, anxious, or sadly even upset. Therefore, it can be extremely helpful to listen intently to the person with dementia as they express their frustrations. As it is likely that you will get some clues about what it is that is upsetting them e.g. pain, discomfort, too hot, too cold, hungry, or simply just needing the toilet. Frustration and overstimulation are common triggers of being agitated. So always ensure you try and reassure the person who has dementia, that you are there to provide help, support and assistance where needed. Sometimes, just changing the subject or persuading them to participate in an enjoyable activity can help them.

Aggression

Aggressive behaviour amongst those with dementia can happen rather suddenly and without little warning. Therefore, try to find out what has triggered or started the aggressive behaviour so that steps can be taken to avoid what instigated or triggered the situation. Always react in a measured and calm way and reduce environmental distractions/potential causes, such as loud noises or potentially frightening shadows or movements. Again, persuading an aggressive person to participate in an enjoyable activity or simply moving onto another subject can be extremely effective in resolving the situation.

Repetition

People who have dementia can often repeat a word, question, phrase or action over and over again (For example, saying "Where are we going today?" repeatedly).
This behaviour is somewhat harmless, but it can be both disconcerting and sometimes even a little annoying given time for those who are caring for the person who has dementia. Repetitive behaviour can be a sign of emotional stress, since people who have dementia are often looking for something comfortable and familiar - for which they have a level of degree of control over. For you to address this repetition, always try and find a reason for it as well as their emotion behind it. This can help you reduce your chances of responding impatiently to the person. If the repetition is an action, try turning it into an activity or play session that makes the person with dementia feel useful. For example, if the person is constantly fidgeting with their hands, try giving them something to sort out.

Hallucinations

The most common hallucinations for someone with dementia are visual, (1) seeing something that is not really there and (2) auditory, hearing something that is not really there. However, hallucinations can also occur with their taste, smell, and even touch. Hallucinations are very much real to those who have dementia. So do not try to convince the person that they are simply just imagining things as you may make the situation far worse. Instead, reassure the person who is experiecing the hallucinations, that you are there to help. And again instead of dwelling on it encourage them to participate in one of their favourite activities. Also consider if the hallucination is problematic. Or if it is a "nice" hallucination, such as seeing an old water features that was once outside n the garden that is not really there. If the case, there may be no real benefit in you trying to discourage this behaviour.