As dementia progresses and seniors lose neurons in their brains, they may act differently. The changes older adults experience due to the neurological disorder can be difficult for family members to handle. Take a look at some of the most common behavioral changes seniors with dementia experience and what family caregivers can do to address each problem.
Seniors with dementia who lash out at others verbally, wander, pace around the home, or cry for unknown reasons could be agitated. Medical problems can lead to behavioral changes in seniors with dementia. For example, the side effects of a prescription could cause discomfort for your elderly parent and increase the odds of aggression. If your loved one is constipated or experiencing extreme pain, he or she could also display feelings of agitation. Always check your loved one’s comfort levels and determine if there’s a medical reason for the changes in behavior.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Portland seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
It’s typical for older adults with dementia to feel anxious and insecure. In some cases, seniors may follow their family caregivers around the home and other places seeking reassurance. They want to make sure someone is there at all times, so they check to see where their family and friends are. If your loved one follows you around, try to ease his or her mind. Sit your loved one down and ask if he or she is okay, and do everything possible to make sure his or her needs are met. When you’re out running errands, take your loved one with you, as long as the trip is short and you’re avoiding crowded areas. Keeping your parent close could reassure him or her.
Mood changes during the late afternoon and early evening hours are frequent in seniors with dementia. This is known as sundowning, and many seniors become confused and impatient after the sun begins to set. To handle this behavioral problem, avoid activities around these times. For instance, if your loved one is more aggressive during the evenings, plan his or her social events in the mornings and early afternoons. Scheduling hobbies, games, and other activities when he or she is at his or her best could reduce the odds of your loved one lashing out at you and others.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care Portland, ME, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
In the earlier stages of dementia, seniors may hoard things due to anxiety. They’re uncertain of what’s next in terms of their condition, so they hold on to objects for reassurance. You may notice your loved one keeping items from the past, such as an old accessory or clothes he or she no longer wears. Keeping these things can provide your parent with security and remind him or her of less stressful times. Let your loved one know you’re there for him or her no matter how difficult times become. Knowing he or she can count on you could ease your loved one’s mind and reduce the risk of hoarding.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (207) 835-4849 today.