Since his father’s dementia diagnosis a year ago, Adam had made it a point to spend more time with his father. In fact, he became Bob’s primary caregiver. It was important to Adam that Bob be able to continue to do the things he loved and stay involved for as long as possible. To help him do that, Adam frequently took his dad on outings, especially to his favorite restaurant for a slice of pie. One day at the restaurant, Bob got up from his seat. He walked over to a stranger sitting a few tables away and began to talk to the woman as though he knew her. Adam was embarrassed and wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. As time went on, Bob became more and more prone to strange behavior in public, sometimes even saying inappropriate things. Adam didn’t want to stop taking his dad on outings, but he also didn’t know how to react or explain to strangers when Bob did embarrassing things.
Maybe you’ve been in a situation similar to Adam’s where your aging relative with dementia said or did something unusual or inappropriate. Even if the behavior didn’t occur in public, it can still be embarrassing and uncomfortable to deal with. Below are some tips to help you the next time you’re faced with an embarrassing dementia behavior.
Understand the Behavior.
Sometimes understanding the behavior can make it easier to stay calm and handle it. First, keep in mind that the behavior is not intentional. It is a symptom of dementia. There is a part of the brain that helps people to react appropriately to social cues and helps to control inhibitions. When that part of the brain is damaged by dementia, it causes the person to sometimes act inappropriately.
Ignore the Behavior.
If the behavior isn’t harming or offending anyone, sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore it. Calling attention to the behavior may just cause an unnecessary fuss. However, if the behavior offends someone, you should apologize. It can also help to explain that the senior has dementia and cannot help their behavior.
Create a Distraction.
A distraction can often stop the behavior and redirect the senior’s attention to something else. One way to do that is to ask them a question. This should make them pause to think about what you said and how to answer the question, making them forget what they were saying or doing before.
A senior care provider can help manage difficult and embarrassing behaviors in your aging relative. A senior care provider can explain the behavior to visitors or people in public. Because senior care providers are experienced in caring for individuals with dementia, they often come equipped with their own tricks and strategies for managing problematic behaviors and can share them with you.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Oakland, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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