previously published in examiner
Part 7 of the tips for caregivers series
How to interpret behavior and help the Alzheimer’s patient:
Restlessness and agitation
Restlessness and agitation is often a result of boredom. Alzheimer’s patients would require something to do. Provide an activity to occupy their mind based on their level of functioning. For example reading to them or putting on music will ease their restless tension. However, also note if the restlessness is due to too much stimulation such as a big family gathering. You may want to medicate (but sparingly do not over medicate just to make your life easier) or you can suggest a nap or remove the family from your aging parent or patient with Alzheimer’s.
If you find that your loved one or patients are constantly following you around, this could be an indication of boredom and it could also indicate a lack of security; a feeling you will abandon them. What you can do is talk to the patients in a calm soothing voice. Even if they cannot respond, they are listening, If you can engage them in an activity that you yourself are doing such as putting away groceries or setting the table allow them to help. Also, stick to your routine; any changes can cause the patients to panic. Reassure them that you are not leaving them, or if you must leave the house, or go home after your shift is over let them know that you are coming back.
Rapid mood swings
Again the patients may be agitated by over stimulation, Remove that stimulus, such as children arguing or demanding attention from them. Talk calmly to your aging parent or Alzheimer’s patient.
Do not shout or argue, if you sense frustration, help your loved ones or patients do the activity that they are having difficulty with, gently stroke them or hold their hands. Demonstrate how you are there for them. Also consult with their doctor about these moods swings and possibly adjustment for medications.
To be continued
Information for caregivers in the Montreal Area
Memory and Alzheimer’s Help in Montreal