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How to handle behavior

One of the issues I encountered among dementia patients is their varied behavioral patterns. Every now and then, they would demonstrate hostile acts and refuse to receive any care. At times, they may hurt their caregivers both physically and emotionally. Their violent speech and actions can be stressful and a drain for the care provider.

But you should understand that these sudden outbursts may be triggered by different factors. They might be experiencing physical discomfort and poor communication. They may also have been distracted by certain environmental stimulants, like visual, verbal, and tactile sensation.

Certain behaviors may also be caused by medications.

There are medical treatments that may precipitate hallucinations and incontinence in the patient. In this case, you better consult with the person’s physician and nurses regarding the side effects of the drug administered to him.

There are also instances when patients behave on purpose.

I have dealt with patients who just wanted to keep folding their clothes. They do this to keep themselves busy.

Nevertheless, for whichever reason your patient may be behaving, you must remain calm. Exercise patience. Do not take his behavior personally. Instead, try doing different approaches. Although some techniques may work, I admit that other recourse would not. Be flexible, more understanding, and show compassion. Be creative with your strategies. The best way to ease the tension in dealing with difficult patients is to instill humor.

Look at the situation from a positive perspective.

Always remember that you cannot change the person. Otherwise, you would just end up frustrated as the patient mounts resistance. Instead, try to accept the behaviors as a reality that comes with the disease. Work through this reality. Do not argue or convince him into doing the thing you think is better for him. When, for example, your patient wants to take a walk. Do not stop him from doing so. Or, if he insists on sleeping on the floor, manage to put a mattress on which he may lay down. And if the patient wants to cook, provide him with something to mix his ingredients in.

Dementia patients can be very demanding and appear very self-centered.

This is very hard to accept when the person seems to be in the early stages. If you feel this is happening, step back, relax and analyze the situation. Is their behavior intentional or accidental? Are they manipulative? Often, they cannot control their emotions. As a patient with dementia progresses, they are more focused on themselves. If you know the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. That is what they are experiencing. Some demanding behaviors are reflections of a feeling of fear, loneliness or loss of independence. When a patient is unable to remember time and date, their means of adaptation or excuse is to get mad if you ask them what day is it. Some patients get mad if you leave them for a short period of time and thinking you have left them for the whole day.

Some patients get mad if they cannot remember when they last took a bath and maybe insulted if you ask to take a bath.

Focus on the good and pleasant things you are having.

When going to the bathroom, make sure the bathroom smells good. When asking a patient to go eat, make sure the kitchen smells good too. Always take the road of least difficulty. Avoid arguments and accept whatever compromise will work.

Enjoyed the article? 

You can find more great content here:

How To Communicate With Patients Who Has Dementia

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