Six dementia strategies

This article is from the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. In short, it offers 6 strategies on dealing with difficult behavior in someone with any type of dementia from the book The 36 Hour Day.

For the cliff notes version for those of you that have been immersed and just need a refresher:

Dementia Strategy 1 — Restrict. Put a smile on your face and calmly attempt to get the person to stop the behavior, especially if the behavior is potentially dangerous.

Dementia Strategy 2 — Reassess. Consider what might have provoked the behavior. Could a physical problem (toothache, urinary tract infection, osteoarthritis) be behind the agitation? Or could it be something in the environment (noise, movement) or time of day (does it always happen around 4 PM?)

Dementia Strategy 3 — Reconsider. Put yourself in the dementia patient’s shoes. Try to imagine what it must be like to not comprehend what is happening to you or to be unable to accomplish a simple task.  Consider how frustrating or upsetting the current situation or
environment might be for a person with dementia.

Dementia Strategy 4 — Rechannel. Try to redirect the behavior to a safer, less disruptive activity. For example, if the person constantly disassembles household items, try finding simple unused devices, such as an old telephone or a fishing reel, that can be taken apart and put back together repeatedly. Distraction often works well to curtail disruptive repetitive behaviors and restlessness.

Dementia Strategy 5 — Reassure. The demented person’s brain injury and the resulting confusion and frustration can lead to anger, anxiety, and outright fear in certain situations. Calmly reassure the person that everything is okay and that you will continue to take care
of him or her.

Dementia Strategy 6 — Review. After an unsettling experience with your loved one, take time to review how you managed the problem and what you might have done differently. Think about what may have triggered the problem, how it might have been avoided, and what you
might try the next time a similar situation arises.

For a longer edition, visit the full post on Dealing with Difficult Behavior Caused by Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia


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