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All Posts Tagged: alzheimers

Dealing With Aggressive Behaviors in the Late Stages of Alzheimer’s

Senior couple at home focusing on angry man

When someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease, there are many challenges to contend with. Loss of independence, memory loss, increasing reliance on caregivers, greater difficulty performing everyday tasks, limited mobility, and a change in living circumstances can all be very difficult. In addition to these aspects of Alzheimer’s disease – and often related to them – are behaviors exhibited by patients that can compromise quality of life, and pose challenges for caregivers. Understanding the source of these behaviors and responding to them appropriately can help make the work of caregiving easier, and increase your loved one’s comfort and well-being.

Some of the most common behavioral and cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s include aggression, agitation, depression, confusion, suspicion, hallucinations, repetitive behaviors, wandering, and sleep problems. As a caregiver, it’s important to understand that, although you may not be able to pinpoint the exact source of these behaviors, they do have a cause – that has nothing to do with you! In order to provide compassionate care, and avoid burnout, it’s essential to avoid taking behaviors personally. Although it can be very difficult to not take it personally when someone you love lashes out in anger or exhibits suspicion towards you, it’s important to remember that the disease has compromised their rational abilities. Keeping in mind that unpleasant and challenging behaviors originate not with something you have done wrong, but are simply a part of the disease, can help you to remain calm and centered and avoid losing your temper.

When you’re trying to address changes in behavior such as aggression, sleeplessness, or wandering, it’s important to look for underlying clues. While some behaviors have no clear source, much of the time, there is an environmental or physical trigger. Lashing out physically or verbally, for example, can indicate that the person is in pain. An over-stimulating environment with loud noises or unfamiliar people can contribute to agitation; conversely, boredom or a lack of exercise can cause restlessness and wandering. If your loved one is exhibiting challenging behaviors, try creating a more comfortable environment for them, providing opportunities to engage in meaningful activities, or changing your communication style by speaking more slowly and using words and gestures that are easier to understand. Above all, it’s important to remain calm and patient. Don’t try to persuade your loved one of anything or control them: rather, accept that behavioral changes are an inevitable part of Alzheimer’s, and deal with them as they arise.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

Alzheimer Home Care New York

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Preparing for the Difficult Late Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

when-alzheimer-beats-boomerIn the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many patients retain the ability to function with some independence. Even as confusion and forgetfulness become more pronounced, they can still communicate verbally and engage in many activities of daily life, such as bathing, eating, and dressing on their own. As the disease progresses, though, most Alzheimer’s patients become completely dependent on their caregivers in all aspects of life. While this can be tremendously challenging for both patient and caregiver, there are things you can do to ease the transition and preserve the dignity and wellbeing of your loved one in the final stages of Alzheimer’s.

Taking on total responsibility for someone’s care is a huge challenge, and one that should not be faced alone. Connecting with support groups and home health organizations can be tremendously helpful, as can learning about other people’s experiences as caregivers. And, while you may be fully committed to providing care for your loved one at home, there may come a point when round-the-clock care from a health professional, or even a move to an assisted living facility, becomes necessary. If your loved one is experiencing repeated ailments, worsening of physical symptoms, or an inability to eat, it may be time to consider hospice or other palliative care options. For this reason, it’s important to discuss end-of-life care and their wishes surrounding the final stages of their life while your loved one is still capable of decision-making and verbal communication.

Even though your loved one may not be able to communicate verbally, it’s essential to provide them with a sense of dignity and well-being. Because someone with late stage Alzheimer’s experiences the world primarily through their senses, you can use sensory input to communicate when words are no longer sufficient. Playing your loved one’s favorite music, providing gentle massage, brushing their hair, cooking their favorite meals, and displaying bright flowers and family photographs can all have a soothing effect, and communicate to the Alzheimer’s patient that they are safe and loved. Similarly, you can watch for non-verbal cues, such as facial expression, movement, and body language, to determine whether your loved one is experiencing pain or discomfort.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

Alzheimer Home Care New York

 

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