Patient Education for Dementia
AZ (Alzheimer’s) and dementia are connected because the former is a type of the latter.
It’s a degenerative condition that attacks the nerve cells in the brain, causing memory and thinking loss as well as behavioral changes.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia is both emotionally and physically draining, a challenge that may require more patience and strength than you ever imagined.
You’ll need to look to family, friends, and the community for support. When caring for these individuals, consider practical interacting techniques and keeping them safe.
For this reason, we’ll center this patient education discussion on how to handle behaviors among Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Why? Because understanding them and how to manage them is perhaps the best way to help them.
How to Handle Difficult Behaviour in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients
As brain damage progresses, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can’t recall what was once acceptable normal behavior. For this reason, you need some tips on how to handle them.
Agitated or Violent
Agitated or violent behavior can be triggered by changes caused by dementia. You’ll find mild-mannered people being aggressive because of changes in their brains.
Check out some tips you can use to address this type of behavior:
1. Keep yourself and the patient safe. For instance, you can remove any kind of weaponry from the patient’s reach and keep a distance if the violence puts you in danger. Also, the appropriate services if things tend to escalate.
2. If there is no danger, remain calm because a patient’s emotions are a reflection of their surroundings. If you’re triggered, the patient will be triggered as well.
3. Don’t get into a confrontation with an agitated patient. Patients with AZ or dementia lack the ability to follow an argument which frustrates them even further.
At some point, it’s no longer safe for an AD or dementia patient to drive. So how can you deter an AD or dementia patient from cruising?
1. Inform them of the dangers of driving in their condition before an accident happens.
2. Volunteer to drive them to places or ask friends and family to do it.
3. Finally, this might seem a bit deceptive, but if the patient is adamant, they must drive; you can hide the keys, disable the ignition or haul the car away altogether.
Private or Public Inappropriate Behaviour
AD and dementia can affect the part of the brain that controls inhibition. You’ll find modest people even taking off their clothes or urinating in public.
Note that there is no aggressive intent. It’s just that they can’t control the part of their brain that says such behaviors are inappropriate. How can you help? Try these tips
1. If you’re shocked, keep your reaction in check and calmly guide the person to a washroom or more secluded place and cover them if need be.
2. Don’t be angry or reprimand them. This can confuse them because they don’t understand that their behavior is inappropriate.
3. Try and distract them with something else.
AD and dementia patients can repeat something several times because they are bored, releasing anxiety, or don’t remember how to do the task. Here is how you can help:
1. Listen to what they’re repeating and the tone to see if there is anxiety in their words.
2. Find something structured for them to do that will be engaging and act as a distraction to prevent repetitive tasks or questions.
3. Some repetitive tasks mean the person’s brain is ‘stuck’ at that moment which is common. Do not be alarmed; a simple touch can break this cycle.
Persons with AZ or dementia often become disoriented, and their thoughts start to wander at some point.
Some of the common instances include wanting to ‘go home’ even when there are at home or looking for someone from their past.
Some will wander from a new or unfamiliar setting or even forget how to get to a familiar place, such as the washroom, so you might find them at the front door or in the garage looking for it.
Follow these steps to prevent wandering:
1. Have a daily routine: Ensure the patient has a regular schedule for eating, sleeping, and other routine activities. Routines help soothe patients with AD or dementia and help prevent the anxiety that causes them to wander.
2. Have the patient exercise daily to maintain a healthy physique and reduce aches or pain, leading to agitation and causing them to wander.
3. Avoid busy and crowded places when you’re outside with them. For instance, loud sporting events or busy shopping malls can disorient them.
When it comes to providing patient education for Alzheimer’s and dementia, that’s about it.