Disbelief. Shame. Awkwardness. Discomfort. All of these feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s heart when a loved one with Alzheimer’s displays disinhibited behaviors, such as:
- Tactless or rude comments
- Inappropriate sexual advances or remarks
- Removal of clothes at improper times
- And other socially unacceptable actions
The complex changes that occur to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease may cause a complete turnaround in a senior’s personality and behaviors, such as a formerly genteel grandmother suddenly cursing like a sailor. For an individual who is uncomfortable, disoriented, confused, or has simply forgotten social graces and skills, these behaviors are actually quite common; therefore, it’s important to figure out how exactly to best manage them should they arise in someone you love.
- See if there’s a solvable problem leading to the behaviors, for example, a physical illness, medication side effects, the need to use the rest room, environment-induced anxiety, etc.
- Remind yourself that the Alzheimer’s is to blame, and respond patiently and gently, without overreacting or lashing out in anger.
- Help the older adult remain involved in appropriate activities based on his or her individual interests. If the individual becomes agitated with a specific activity, switch to something different, or relocate to a new room in your home or outdoors when possible.
- Pay attention to clothing choices, if removing clothes at inappropriate times is a concern. If the senior has been wearing pants without zippers for convenience, you might switch to something a little bit more difficult to remove when out in public, for example.
- Be certain that every one of the senior’s physical needs are met to circumvent problematic behaviors. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the house, keep a number of healthy snacks and drinks handy, and encourage regular exercise and movement.
- Offer proper physical contact often such as hugging, holding the person’s hand, or rubbing his/her back, when welcomed by the senior, communicating reassurance to relieve anxiety.
It is also helpful to make certain you’ve got plenty of time for scheduled breaks to tend to your own self-care needs and alleviate the stress that is commonly inherent in looking after a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s caregivers are thoroughly trained and experienced in effective, compassionate Alzheimer’s care, and are here for you with as much or as little respite care as needed. For additional helpful resources about our Kalamazoo long-term care or the Michigan communities that we serve, or to schedule a free in-home consultation, contact us at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.