Dementia progresses in stages, starting with mild symptoms like not remembering recent events and misplacing objects to more severe behaviors, like lashing out or becoming agitated at what appears to be a moment’s notice. If your loved one has just been diagnosed, it’s important to familiarize yourself with different techniques to address the negative behavioral patterns that come with this disorder. Here is some insight from our memory care specialists in Gloucester County.
- Establish a daily routine. Seniors with dementia thrive on routine, and establishing a predictable schedule can help reduce stress and anxiety if your loved one starts to feel off. Regular mealtimes, activities, and sleep patterns help create a sense of normalcy and stability, reducing expressions of confusion and agitation.
- Communication strategies. Communication can be challenging for those with dementia, so using clear and simple language is important. Avoid using abstract concepts, sarcasm, or complex sentence structures. It can also be helpful to use visual aids, such as pictures, if your loved one is having trouble understanding what you’re trying to tell them.
- Redirection. When expressions of anger arise, it can be helpful to redirect the person’s attention to something else. This might involve offering a snack, engaging in a different activity, or taking a walk outside. The goal is to distract your loved one from what is triggering their agitation and redirect their focus to something more enjoyable.
- Validation. Older adults with dementia often experience confusion and disorientation, which can quickly escalate to more severe behaviors like yelling and hitting. Validation involves acknowledging how your senior parent is feeling and providing reassurance – no matter what. This might involve saying things like, “I can see that you’re upset, Mom and it’s okay to feel that way. I understand and am here to help you through this.”
- Positive reinforcement. One of the most effective behavior modification techniques is positive reinforcement. This might involve offering rewards for positive behaviors or using gentle reminders to discourage negative behaviors. An example might be letting dad have his favorite chocolate bar when he chooses to stay calm instead of becoming angry over the situation at hand.
- Change of environment. Your loved one’s surroundings can have a significant impact on their behavior. Making modifications to their home environment, or changing it entirely, can help reduce negative behaviors. This might involve removing clutter, providing adequate lighting, or moving them to a senior living community with a professional memory care program. Specialized memory care neighborhoods also have dementia-safe apartments to ensure their safety at all times.
Dementia support for caregivers in Gloucester County NJ
Caring for a loved one with dementia is difficult to take on without any support. One of the best ways your loved one can maintain quality of life and work on their cognitive skills is through professional memory care. Our Tapestries memory care program at UMC at Pitman has Life Enrichment Team Specialists (LETS) on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support for residents with neurocognitive conditions like dementia. Our Tapestries methods engage residents in exercises to strengthen cognitive function, provide comfort and a sense of purpose, and enhance their quality of life everyday.
To learn more about our Tapestries memory care for seniors in Gloucester County, please call us today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/pitman/
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/pitman/blog/understanding-and-coping-with-different-dementia-behaviors/