Recognizing Signs of Distress

Personalities can change as the brain changes. Behavior issues may arise with these changes. There are triggers that may set off anger and aggression. When you learn to recognize stress triggers, you can redirect behavior and lessen conflict. Some of the triggers may include:

  • Need to use the bathroom
  • Being too hot or too cold
  • Hunger
  • Change of location
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pain
  • Boredom
  • Overstimulation (sight and noise)
  • Loss of time perception
  • Fear
  • Inability to effectively express words
  • Tiredness

When frustration leads to anger, there are ways to handle it. The person suffering from dementia has no control of their reactions. In fact, once the outburst is over they may not even remember it. Our first reaction is to correct or argue. This may have worked in the past but now those life skills must be tossed aside and new ones must be mastered. You have to remain calm and use soothing tones. The person lives in Alzheimer’s world. In this world, they are always right. Arguing and reasoning only escalate their anger. Here are some suggestions:

  • eliminate the source of confusion or frustration if possible
  • avoid physical contact
  • speak in a calm voice and control facial expressions (hide your anger and frustration)
  • acknowledge their feelings (I know you are frustrated)
  • take a few moments apart if possible
  • alert your healthcare provider if you notice significant changes
  • keep a simple routine

You must remember it is the disease speaking and not the one you care for. Should you need to call for emergency help please tell them right away about their dementia.

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