Alzheimer’s Disease And Caregiving
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and irreversible disorder of the brain that slowly destroys thinking, memory skills, and eventually the ability to carry out simple tasks.
Among older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included language problems, memory loss, and unpredictable behavior. Dr Alzheimer found many abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers called neurofibrillary, or tangles.
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered the main elements of Alzheimer’s disease. Another is the loss of connections between nerve cells called neurons, in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.
Although treatment can help manage symptoms in certain people there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.
What Are the Behaviors Of People With Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cause people to act in different and unpredictable ways. Some individuals become anxious or aggressive. Others repeat certain questions or gestures. Many misinterpret what they hear.
These types of reactions can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and tension particularly between the person with dementia and the family caregiver.
It is important to understand that the person with Alzheimer’s Disease is not trying to be difficult and that their behavior is an attempt to communicate.
Tips For Caregivers In Dealing With Loved Ones Who Have Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association® offers some helpful suggestions for responding to dementia related behaviors.
The following three-step approach can help you identify common dementia-related unpredictable behaviors and their causes:
Examine The Unpredictable Behavior:
• What was the behavior?
• Was it harmful?
• Did something trigger it?
• What happened immediately after?
• Could something be causing the person pain?
• Could this be related to medications or another illness? Consult a physician to be sure.
Explore Potential Solutions:
• Are the person’s needs being met?
• Can adapting the surroundings increase the comfort of the person?
• How can you change your reaction or approach?
Try Different Responses:
• Did your new response help?
• Do you need to explore other potential causes and solutions and if so, what can you do differently?
Why Does My Loved One Do These Negative Behaviors And How Can I Help?
Although it can be frustrating to deal with a loved one with Alzeheimer’s, you shouldn’t take it personally, or think the person is doing their unpredictable behavior intentionally.
Negative Behavior May Be Related To:
• Physical pain or discomfort
• Hunger or thirst
• Overstimulation from loud noises or a busy environment
• Unfamiliar surroundings such as new places or their inability to recognize their home
• Complicated tasks such as activities or chores
• Frustrating interactions, such as an inability to communicate effectively which may cause fear, anxiety or sadness
Once you understand what the person is trying to communicate, you can try and provide them with what they need and this typically helps stop or lessen their unpredictable behavior.
For more details on how to respond when dementia causes unpredictable behaviors, download the full Alzheimers Association guide here: https://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_behaviors.pdf
Additional information about Alzheimer’s disease can be found in our Directory of Online Resources.
About Unique HomeCare Services
Unique HomeCare Services provides in-home care for elders and people who are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery.
We offer a full range of in-home care services such as personal care, grooming and incontinence care, bathing and dressing, post-hospitalization care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, and medication management.
We also provide non-medical support services such as meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, caring companionship, shopping/errands, accompanying to medical and other appointments, as well as case management services.
Our services are available for long-term and short-term care needs from as little as a one 4 hour day visit a week to 24 Hour and Live-In Care.
We also offer Respite Care services to assist family caregivers going away or with caregiver fatigue.
It is our pleasure to assist our veteran clients with VA Aid and Attendance Benefit approval at no cost.
We have an extensive Directory of Online Senior and Caregiver Resources for the information you need.
Our service area is Boston, Norwood, Dedham, Westwood, Walpole, Canton, Sharon, Stoughton, Avon, Braintree, Easton, Milton, Quincy, Weymouth, and surrounding towns.
To schedule a no cost and no obligation full In-Home Assessment to determine the home care needs of you or your loved one please call us at (800) 296-9962 to speak to a Case Manager or fill out our Free Quote Contact Form.