Tips and Strategies for Handling the Difficult Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

Source: Alzheimer’s Care Today

Personality and behavioral changes do occur in loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. These present various kinds of challenges to the caregiver. The best way to approach these challenges is to use creativity, flexibility, patience and compassion.

There are some useful general rules you may want to follow when dealing with these changes.

  • Accommodate their behavior rather than try to control. Do not try to change or control their behavior as it may be met with stiff resistance.
  • Also check with the doctor first as the cause of the behavior issues may be medically-related.
  • Behavior has a purpose. They may be drawing your attention to an issue they have.
  • Behavior is also triggered, so find out the source. Multiple factors may trigger behaviors, so try to modify the environment and strategies to get the right result.
  • Get support from others. This will ease the burden.

Some more strategies you can try. These can be very successful, so don’t be afraid to try all of them.

  1. Distract or redirect her attention on occasions when your loved one is upset. It may be wise to change the topic or environment. Ask her to assist you or to go for a walk. Bear in mind that you will need to be at the same level of feeling before you redirect her attention.
  2. Always try to maintain affection and reassurance. On occasions when she is confused about reality, do not try to convince her that she is wrong. It is best to always stay focused and respond appropriately with the right body language to comfort and reassure her. Sometimes physical contact can elicit a positive response when verbal and facial communications fail.
  3. Reduce or break down activities into manageable small steps. Provide her with assistance if some tasks appear too challenging for her.
  4. Remind her about the good old days. She is more likely to remember these than the immediate past. So avoid asking questions which rely on short term memory.
  5. Be humorous. Maintain your sense of humor but not at her expense. He or she will enjoy laughing along with you.

You may deal with other problems such as wandering by discovering what caused them to start wondering in the first place. Put security measures in place to monitor and inform neighbors of this propensity. When your senior appears to be agitated, then you need to understand that it is a sign that he or she is afraid, fatigued or is under the influence of environmental factors. Reassure them that everything is going to be fine. Fear and anxiety are also responsible for your elder’s repetitive speech or action. Find out the source of these triggers and take action to resolve them.