Personality and behavioral changes are inevitable among dementia patient. And watching a loved one’s attitude towards you change so drastically can be painful. Caregiving specialists at Ashton Grange, renowned west Sussex nursing homes, advise family members to not take a patient’s misbehavior personally and handle these challenges creatively, flexibly and with a sense of humor.
However, these behavioral changes can often cause inconveniences to both the patient and the caregiver, and should therefore be dealt with strategically. Read on to find out how.
Paranoia is defined as “a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance.” A person suffering from dementia suddenly becomes suspicious, jealous and accusatory. And while it may seem irrational to you, what they are experiencing is very real to them. It can be unsettling to watch someone with dementia becoming paranoid but the best way to handle it is to not argue or try to make them ‘see reality’.
A common delusion that occurs in patients is the ‘missing’ of money or other objects. Dementia nursing homes in Horsham suggest that you help the patient look for the missing object and slowly distract them into another activity. Patients also tend to hide objects themselves and later look for them elsewhere. It will help if you can locate all the places where they usually hide the objects to and actually help them ‘find’ it. Another good practice for ‘lost’ money is to allow the patient to keep small amounts of money in their pocket or a handbag and simplify the inspection. It also helps to communicate with the patient non-verbally to provide reassurance when they are troubled.
Besides the personal caregiver, other family members should also understand that these suspicion and accusations are a part of the disease, which should be dealt with patiently and never taken personally.
- Wandering – Many nursing homes in Crawley have noted that patients tend to wander off and walk aimlessly. This can be due to boredom, side effects of medicines or the paranoia that makes them go ‘looking for something’. The homes suggest incorporating physical activities in the patients’ routine to reduce their restlessness and also keep their body fit.
- Agitation – Advance stages of dementia is associated with increased irritability, sleeplessness, and verbal and physical aggression. To help manage such symptoms, make sure the patient stays away from noise, clutter and crowded places. Avoid bright colours and shocking visuals. Maintain a routine and designate a place for all objects in the house, to lessen instances of angry fits. The diet of the patient should also be watched to avoid caffeine and sugar intake, to keep energy levels from rising unnecessarily.
Some patients can be very difficult to deal with and the caregiver’s intimate relation with them can stress both parties and worsen the situation. In such cases, getting professional assistance or considering a dementia nursing home is advisable.