Problems in Senior Care: What to Do When Dementia Causes Meanness

Dementia Senior CareIf you are providing senior care for a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you know all too well the varied and complex behaviors associated with the disease, and one of the most difficult is the change in moods – the night and day difference from that sweet, kind person into a bitter, fussy bully. The emotional trauma those personality shifts can cause are often devastating, particularly for a family member who has been providing dedicated, selfless care for the senior.

It’s important as the senior care provider to try not to take these mean behaviors personally, as difficult as that may be, and to remember that the person is typically speaking from a place of fear or frustration. Use the following tips to help ease a difficult situation and restore peace:

  • Stay calm. Your loved one may pick up on your escalated irritation and become more irritated too – and likewise, is more apt to calm himself or herself down if you remain reasonable and patient. Minimizing distractions and trying to shift the person’s attention to a favorite activity can help.
  • Comfort the person. Rather than arguing with the person, which may be a first instinct, use a quiet, slow, and comforting tone. Check to see what may be causing the feelings of frustration so you can address those, such as pain, overstimulation, or anxiety.
  • Track triggers. You can minimize or possibly avoid a future behavioral issue altogether by taking notes and learning from the experience. Keep a journal of what happened, when it happened, and what worked (or didn’t work).

It’s of utmost importance for senior caregivers to also save some time for themselves to renew energy and refresh their minds, especially after agitating episodes with their loved one. Midnight Sun Home Care in Alaska is ready to provide compassionate, experienced, and patient Alzheimer’s and dementia care, offering the respite care that families require. Call us at (907) 677-7890 to learn more or contact us online by clicking here.


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