Tips for Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease

Wilf Campus Coping With Alzheimer'sAs a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can be extremely worrying, overwhelming and frustrating to experience behavior problems such as wandering, aggressiveness, or hallucinations. Educating yourself on different ways to cope with repetitive behaviors, brought on by Alzheimer’s, can help increase the quality of life for both the patient and yourself.

Many people believe the most challenging aspect of Alzheimer’s is assisting with personal care, like dressing, bathing, etc., but the most common answer is learning how to properly deal with the frequent state of confusion.

Patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s tend to repeatedly ask what day it is, what time it is, where they live, day of the week, time of day, etc. Here are some important tips to remember when dealing with repetitive dementia behavior:

1. Be Patient & Remain Calm – Being asked the same question over and over again can be frustrating, but do your best to not show your frustration.

2. Avoid Arguing – Try your best to avoid arguing or scolding for repeating the questions they are asking. Alzheimer’s disease affects memory and the person may not remember that he or she asked the question already.

3. Focus On Their Emotions – Analyze the questions they keep asking and think about how he or she may be feeling. Focus on their emotions or the reason behind the repetitive questioning. Are they bored, lonely, anxious or worried?

4. Try Distracting or Reassurance – If your loved one seems bored or lonely, sit with them and try to redirect to a new activity or conversation. Offering reassurance in a calm, gentle voice may be enough to stop their anxiety or frustration.

5. Keep Them Busy – The questioning may simply be boredom and needing something else to do. Try engaging the person in a fun and enjoyable activity.

6. Travel In Time – If their memory is focused on a particular time in his or her life, engage in conversation about recollections with an understanding that this is their reality at the moment.

7. Ignore The Question – On occasion, if none of the above tips work, you may find that the only solution is to simply ignore the question and try to redirect them to another topic or activity.