It may come out of thin air: you place your loved one’s favorite tuna sandwich on the table – light on the mayo, no onions – something that typically brings her pleasure. But today, she shoves the plate away and will not take a bite, insisting that you’ve poisoned the meal.
Or, you’ve provided your loved one with a meaningful activity that links her to a significant time in her past career, organizing paperwork. Out of the blue, she accuses you of meddling with the documents to steal funds from her banking account.
The following dementia care tips can help you successfully diffuse situations like these, which are brought on by the delusions or hallucinations that are so common in dementia:
- Keep a controlled, caring, understanding tone. It may be instinctive to become defensive and renounce the accusation, but recommended responses might include something such as, “I see that you feel worried, but I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Let’s enjoy this meal together,” or, “Oh no, are you missing some money? The bank isn’t open right now, but let’s go there immediately tomorrow to get it straightened out.”
- Move into a welcomed diversion. After sharing in the older adult’s concern, shift into a pleasant subject or activity that your loved one likes, or move to another area. In the case of the suspected food poisoning, you could engage the senior in going into the kitchen and helping her prepare a fresh sandwich. If you have reassured your loved one that you’ll go to the bank together tomorrow, a walk outside to view the flowers and birds, or playing some favorite music, can help.
- Never argue or try to reason. These tactics have a tendency to increase agitation in someone with Alzheimer’s. It could take some experimentation to formulate the approach that works best, and that approach may need to change from one day to another. The goal is to stay calm, patient, and empathetic, confirming the older adult’s feelings and providing comfort.
Atlanta Home Care Partners’ care experts are highly trained and experienced in effective, creative dementia care techniques, and can help with managing difficult situations and behaviors, enabling a senior loved one to experience an improved quality of life, and providing family caregivers with peace of mind and relief. Email or call us today at (404) 228-0103 for more information about our top-rated Atlanta dementia care or to inquire about additional resources that can help family caregivers. To find out if our expert care services are available in your community, please visit our Service Area page.