Home Care – Tips for Managing Behavior Changes Caused by Alzheimer’s

Home CareAlzheimer’s disease occurs when brain cells start to die and the brain stops working as well as it used to. It can affect many areas of a patient’s life and those that care for him. Often caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients say one of the most difficult things to deal with is the behavior and personality changes that come along with the disease. It seems to change the person that they knew their whole lives into someone else, and sometimes that someone else is not a very pleasant person.

But as a caregiver, you still love and care for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. It can be a daunting task and having a professional who is trained in Alzheimer’s care may be one way you get assistance for the daily tasks you need to help your loved one with. An Alzheimer’s home care professional can help you manage daily chores and personal care as well as provide a bit of respite when you need it.

When your loved one displays behaviors or has emotional outbursts, you might wonder what you can do to help her through the emotions that are causing her to act a certain way. Here are some tips you can use to help you navigate these waters while making your loved one feel safe, loved, and secure.

  1. Focus on the feeling, not the words. Harsh words and curse words can often be triggers for caregivers. Instead of focusing on what is being verbalized, focus on what emotion seems to be behind it. Is your loved one fearful, nervous, or worried? Then acknowledge those emotions and reassure your loved one that she is safe and protected.
  2. Reassure with short, simple sentences. You don’t need to provide a long explanation about why something your loved one is currently upset about isn’t based on reality. A couple of simple sentences that explain that she is okay, all is well and there is no need to worry are enough.
  3. When reassurance doesn’t work, use diversion. Often, an Alzheimer’s patient cannot be reasoned with. You may know that neighbors aren’t spies, but if your loved one is feeling fearful about them, simply telling her that may not help. Instead, find ways to divert her. Turn on her favorite music to sing or dance to. Talk about her favorite Alzheimer’s care provider coming for a visit in the afternoon.
  4. Keep yourself under control. Losing your temper, yelling in frustration, or showing violent behaviors (like pounding on a wall or counter) will not help your loved one. If it’s safe, leave the room for 10 seconds while you calm down. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed by these new behaviors and emotions from your loved one, talk to your Alzheimer’s Care provider about how you can receive more help.

Your loved one is lucky to have you as a part of her life and a companion on this sometimes-heartbreaking journey. Give both of yourselves plenty of grace during it.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care in Broomall, PA, and the surrounding area, please contact the friendly staff at Suma Home Care. (484) 206-4544

Ibrahim & Mariama Suma-Keita