Your loved ones with dementia can be easily agitated. Their agitation could be due to the side effects of strong medications. They could be in a state of confusion that leads to fear and they express their fear through screaming, shouting, and hitting others. If symptoms or side effects worsen, it is important to approach doctors to find a more suitable treatment for them or consider going for a memory care program that is catered to help dementia patients slow down the progression of dementia. Although we cannot change the condition of our loved ones, we can change the way we calm their agitation.
Agitation and anger can be very contagious. If we respond aggressively, it makes our loved ones even more agitated and physical. The mirroring technique is where our loved ones will mimic the actions and attitudes of the caregiver. As such, it is important to mind our actions in front of our loved ones as they are copying what we do!
Take deep breaths and leave the room if you need to recollect yourself. The calmness you radiate will become contagious and calm and assure your loved ones. Sometimes, you may require more help or assistance to better manage their condition, so reach out to professional caregivers that can teach you techniques to help!
Bridge Communication Breakdowns
Remember to treat your loved ones with respect even if they have problems communicating their needs and wants. Fostering effective communication requires time and continuous effort. Family members have to continuously interact with them with dignity and respect. There may be times where they will lash out and behave like a child, but remember to safeguard their dignity.
When family members do that, it protects and prevents hurtful feelings which can irritate them. Sometimes, loved ones with dementia will stop talking as the part of the brain that controls speech may be damaged, hence using physical objects, movement, and pictures can help them relay their message.
The brain can be overstimulated due to loud noises, clutter, and crowds. This can cause them to feel restless and agitated. As such, ensure the room has minimal noise and reduce your volume when talking to them. Instead of having larger gatherings, choose smaller groups with one or two guests so that it will not be so overwhelming for them.
Check for Discomfort
As your loved ones have difficulty communicating how they feel, it is hard to express if they are in pain or uncomfortable. Thus, it is important to regularly check up on them – ask if they are hungry, thirsty, or in pain. Ensure that the chair and bed are comfortable for them as they may stay in one position for a long period. When you check in regularly, they have assurance that they are well taken care of!
Dementia can cause personality changes but it can never take away the love you have for your loved ones. This love you have for them can powerfully change the relationship. While you take care of them, remember to enjoy the moment you have with them. This will remind caregivers why they do what they do. When caregivers spend time with loved ones, it fosters a relationship and connection that can ease irritations.