If you are a primary caregiver or close relative to someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia in order to provide the best care to your loved ones.
A report published by the Alzheimer’s Society shows more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. At a certain stage in the progression of the disease, majority of people with Alzheimer’s exhibit one or more of a number of behaviors referred to as “behaviors that challenge”. This include aggression, agitation, restlessness, walking about, and being sexually inappropriate.
Other studies show one of the main reasons why people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are transferred from their home to a nursing facility or assisted living facility is because they exhibit aggressive behaviors. Although, their family members might understand that these behaviors are not acted out on purpose. Unfortunately, these individuals are often burdened with the responsibility of being the primary caregiver, which could put them under a lot stress or mental exertion as they try their best to take care of their loved one. Similarly, they could also be at risk of injury given they are not able to effectively manage the aggression and behavior outbursts associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Some of these behaviors which could be verbal or physical include: scratching, cursing, hitting, pushing and throwing things, just to mention a few.
Although people with Alzheimer’s disease might not be able to express their feelings coherently or logically, It is important to try to understand these individuals and the reasons for their behaviors. More importantly, it is essential to understand that they are human beings with basic wants and needs just like everyone else. They have to be treated with compassion and dignity.
Some reports show people living with Alzheimer’s might exhibit aggressive behaviors as a result of the side effects of their medications. These individuals might not be able to report side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, nausea, constipation, stomach discomfort or pain. Therefore they express themselves in other ways, including aggression, agitation or use of choice words. It is also important for the caregivers and healthcare team to recognize these possible symptoms and find ways to resolve the problem.
Interviews with some professional caregivers show most individuals with Alzheimer’s often have aggressive behaviors when they have to move their bowels or urinate. They might also be uncomfortable from being constipated and unable to report it. One caregiver offered insight as to how she deals with such situations. “It is important to understand your client and be able to anticipate their needs. Set a routine around tasks such as toileting. You could set a schedule to take them to the restroom every two hours or right before going to bed. Offer them urinal if you notice they might not make it to the restroom on time” — Uduak, RN.
Other factors that might precipitate aggressive behaviors include too much external stimulation such as loud noise, unfamiliar environment or people, getting lost or frustration from not being able to complete a task. Again, an important strategy to use in these situations is to understand the individual’s behaviors and anticipate their needs. Remove the person from a noisy environment, surround them with familiar objects, if possible keep they in the environment they have been used to; play music or distract them with activities.
At Community Angels Nursing Services, we provide well screened caregivers who have valuable skills and experience in assisting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease live safely at home with their family and loved ones. We offer skilled nursing, home health aide and companion services, allowing you to be the son, the daughter, the wife and husband rather than the caregiver. We also provide medical devices for fall detection, medication management and personal emergency response.
Please give us a call today at (301) 768 6096 or visit our website at http://communityangelsinc.com to learn more about how we could help your loved one live a better life at home.