Elderly hospice patient with caregiver

Many of the seniors in hospice care across the country are suffering with mid or late stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This can present challenges to their caregivers and their family as their behavior changes and their cognitive abilities fade. If you have a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, follow these tips for the acceptable handling of some common situations.

Aggressive behavior

As Alzheimer’s advances, individuals tend to exhibit more aggressive speech and behaviors. This can be caused by physical discomfort, a lack of communication ability or just a fear and misunderstanding of their current surroundings. The key for caregivers is to identify what’s causing this aggression and calmly remove the problem or help to shift the focus. It’s important to avoid engaging in an argument because that tends to escalate the situation.

Time and place confusion

Often, patients feel a loss of control when dealing with dementia, which can be what leads them to being confused about where they are, why they’re there and what year it is. They may simply desire to be back in a time of their lives when they felt more in control. This behavior can be particularly heartbreaking for loved ones, however. One option is to redirect the person rather than answering and contradicting them. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that you give simple explanations with photos or tangible reminders to bring them back to the present. The primary goal is to answer in a way that makes the individual feel safe and assured. That means avoiding long explanations and reason.

Poor judgment

Common examples of poor judgment are accusations against family members or nursing home staff, repetition of certain tasks or unexplained hoarding. This is caused by the deterioration of brain cells, which often leads to delusions. Because the patient believes something is true, it leads them to out of character behaviors. It’s important not to outright question this behavior, however. Instead, offer help in tasks they seem to be struggling with, or try to get to the reason behind the behavior by having a casual conversation. Through communication, the individual may voluntarily admit to having trouble in certain areas, which you can then volunteer to help with.

Moving those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s out of their homes can lead to further decline and more confusion. At Cura HPC, our hospice care services are able to help care for Alzheimer’s patients in the comfort of their own home with compassion and dignity. Contact us to learn more.