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Redirecting a Senior with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s can cause seniors to become restless, irritated, and aggressive, which can be difficult for family caregivers to manage. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of behaviors such as these if you know how to approach them properly. Fort Myers Alzheimer’s care experts offer a few tips on how to redirect your senior loved one if he or she is displaying undesirable behaviors related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Be Calm and Confident

It is easy to become upset or embarrassed when a loved one with Alzheimer’s engages in inappropriate behavior. An angry, forceful tone or aggressive body language can put your loved one on the defensive and escalate the situation. A warm smile, gentle touch, and eye contact may be much more effective in leading your loved one to the desired behavior. You can even help physically redirect your loved one by offering an outstretched hand or placing an arm around his or her shoulder.

Ask Questions

Inappropriate behavior is often the result of some type of physical or emotional stress. For example, your loved one may be hungry, bored, or need to go to the bathroom. Asking a few gentle questions can help you find the cause of his or her distress so it can be addressed. Once the underlying stressor is resolved, the inappropriate behavior may go away. 

Don’t Try to Reason

Seniors with Alzheimer’s are unable to follow logic. If you attempt to reason with your loved one, he or she will most likely retreat and become defensive. Instead of trying to correct a delusional belief, be empathetic and reassuring. For example, if your loved one thinks there are little men under the bed, let him or her know you understand how that would be upsetting and ask why he or she thinks the little men are there. This can provide insight as to what is really worrying your loved one so you can address the underlying issue. 

Use Bridge Phrases

Seniors with Alzheimer’s can get stuck in the rut of asking a particular question over and over. Using a phrase that is a slight turn from the topic can be used to engage your loved one in a new activity. For example, if your loved one keeps asking if the mail has come, you can let him or her know it has not and then ask him or her to help you in a diversional activity until the mail arrives.

You can also redirect your loved one’s negative feelings by engaging him or her in activities designed to boost the brain. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which helps seniors engage with others in an enjoyable way while slowing the rate of their cognitive decline. For more information on CTM and the home care Fort Myers seniors rely on, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 239.449.4701 today.