Friday, January 15, 2016

How To Manage Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Hallucinations and Suspicion

Hallucinations can be the result of failing senses. Maintaining consistency and calmness in the environment can help reduce hallucinations. Also, violent movies or television can contribute to paranoia, so avoid letting the patient watch disturbing programs.
When hallucinations or illusions do occur:
  • Don’t argue about what is real and what is fantasy.
  • Respond to the emotional content of what the person is saying, rather than to the factual/fictional content.
  • Seek professional advice if you are concerned about this problem. Medications can sometimes help to reduce hallucinations.

 

Alzheimer’s and suspicion

Confusion and the loss of memory can also cause Alzheimer’s patients to become suspicious of those around them, sometimes accusing their caretakers of theft, betrayal, or some other improper behavior.
  • Offer a simple answer to any accusations, but don’t argue or try to convince them their suspicions are unfounded.
  • Distract the patient with another activity, such as going for a walk, or by changing the subject.
  • If suspicions of theft are focused on a particular object that is frequently mislaid, such as a wallet for example, try keeping a duplicate item on hand to quickly allay the patient’s fears.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Managing Alzheimer’s symptoms: Belligerence, anger, or aggressive behavior

While creating a calm environment can have a large impact on managing the stress that often results in aggressive behavior, there are also some things you can do during an angry outburst.
  • Don’t confront the person or try to discuss the angry behavior. The person with dementia cannot reflect on unacceptable behavior and cannot learn to control it.
  • Do not initiate physical contact during the angry outburst. Often, physical contact triggers physical violence.
  • Let the person play out the aggression. Give him or her space to be angry alone. Just be sure that both you and the patient are safe.
  • Distract the person to a more pleasurable topic or activity.
  • Look for patterns in the aggression. Consider factors such as privacy, independence, boredom, pain, or fatigue. Avoid activities or topics that anger the person. To help find any patterns, you might keep a log of when the aggressive episodes occur. If the person gets angry when tasks are too difficult, break down tasks into smaller pieces.
  • Get help from others during the activities that anger the patient.
  • Don’t take the aggressiveness personally. It, too, is just part of the dementia.

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Managing Alzheimer’s symptoms: Rummaging and hiding things

Caring for a patient who rummages around or hides things in the home is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

 

Protecting your property

  • Lock certain rooms or cabinets to protect their contents, and lock up all valuables.
  • Have mail delivered out of reach of the Alzheimer's patient—perhaps to a post office box.
  • If items do disappear, learn the person’s preferred hiding places.
  • Restrict access to wastebaskets and trashcans, and check all wastebaskets before disposing of their contents in case objects have been hidden there.

 

Protecting Alzheimer’s patients from harming themselves

  • Remove or prevent access to unsafe substances, such as cleaning products, alcohol, firearms, power tools, sharp knives, and medications.
  • Prevent electrical accidents by blocking unused electrical outlets with childproofing devices. Hide stove knobs so the person can’t turn on the burners.
  • Lower the temperature on water heaters.
  • Designate a special drawer of items that the person can safely “play” with when keen to rummage.


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