Getting to Know You...

Getting to Know You...

Understanding Agitated and Violent Behaviors in Dementia Care

Caring for people with dementia is not easy. Dementia care should be a shared process for all staff in the facility, for facility members and other residents. The role of a caregiver is to find and search for the meaning behind the behaviors of a resident. There behavior has a meaning of communicating needs and desires It is an expression of their abilities, disabilities and challenges. There are many APPROACHES, ACTIVITIES AND INTERVENTIONS 

IN RESPONSE TO BEHAVIORS OF PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMERS AND DEMENTIA. All the care givers on the unit should share their successful approaches, activities, interventions with all staff; put information in prominent place on care plan. Don’t over react to resident’s behavior. Each resident is UNIQUE!

These are few common behaviors:

VERBAL ANXIETY (FEELING LOST, SCARED, I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO) Approach slowly ,Redirect to object, Use gentle touch in a reassuring way, use validation to listen for the reason underlying the anxiety, then try to resolve and Allow residents to sit in area where staff are working to feel he or she isn't alone..

REPETITIVE CALLING OUT; YELLING, SCREAMING- Use slow, rhythmic music, lifelong favorite music. Use refreshments; Give resident a busy box, scrap book, Spend one on one time in quiet, Use the resident's name and look directly at him or her in trying to calmly breakthrough and try to involved in singing instead.

EXPRESSION OR DISPLAY OF SADNESS; DEPRESSION- find a reason behind the behavior, don't ask "why"? Use something from resident’s lifetime that has offered enjoyment activities that you are certain residents can be successful in doing; give genuine praise, or sad music may help you release feelings

VERBAL ANGER; ABUSIVE LANGUAGE- Introduce a "favorite" of the resident; activity, music, food, person, Do not react with shock, schooling, anger, Introduce a "favorite" of the resident; activity, music, food, person

WANDERING, PACING- Normalization activities: sorting jewelry or stocks; tying laces; untying or unknotting socks; Involve in physical or movement activities

ELOPING- Walk with the resident using a non-directed conversation to distract or calm resident, Involve in activity prior to this time of day

RUMMAGING; HOARDING- Therapeutic "purses", bags, etc. filled with belonging that the resident can keep, Redirect the resident, Display items that can safely be picked up and taken by the resident; collection of hats, jewelry that belongs to the unit

If the caregiver can discover the message that underlies the behavior, it could lead a peaceful resolution. Caregivers should appreciate that these types of behaviors’ are often simply a form of communication. Keep trying till we find the right one, if you find it then write it down and share it. Learn from the experiences of others caregivers. Share what techniques works for that resident, and be sure to document it on care plan.

Rita Anand, Dementia specialist

Beyond Golden

"Education is Simply the Soul of a Society as it Passes From one Generation to Another." Gilbert K. Chesterton

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