Becoming a Caregiver Interpreter: Understanding the Behaviors of Seniors with Dementia

Caregiver in Sugarland TX

Being a family caregiver for elderly adults is stressful and challenging, but it can be even more so when you are caring for aging loved ones suffering with dementia. Seniors with memory loss and other Caregiver in Sugarland TXcognitive limitations due to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can act out, these unpredictable negative behaviors creating a frightening, uncomfortable, and even dangerous situation. Though it is easy to automatically attribute these behaviors just to the realities of the this progressive condition, it is important to realize that these behaviors may also be your elderly parents’ means of communication in situations of unmet needs.

Becoming a caregiving interpreter for your seniors means not ignoring or lashing out against these behaviors, but putting effort into understanding them so you can improve your care efforts for your loved ones. This starts with realizing that even though seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia do not act or communicate in the same ways as seniors who do not cope with these conditions, they have much the same needs. Elderly adults with dementia have both basic and higher order needs that must be met in order to support total health and wellbeing.

While seniors without dementia have the personal capacity to find ways to fulfill their needs as they arise, those with the cognitive limitations of the disease may not have this ability. This leaves them frustrated, angry, and upset. When not addressed, this can lead to negative behaviors such as:

• Biting

• Kicking

• Yelling

• Use of profanity

• Pacing

• Arguing

• Uncontrollable crying

• Excessive stubbornness

These behaviors are awkward, unnerving, and can put your health and safety and those of your loved ones and their in home care providers at risk. By working to understand the triggers behind these behaviors you can start interpreting them and using these interpretations to improve your elder care efforts for your loved ones.

Some of the common causes for negative behaviors among seniors with dementia include:

• Need to use the restroom

• Fatigue or tiredness

• Discomfort or pain due to an infection such as a kidney infection, urinary tract infection, or respiratory infection

• Depression

• Loneliness

• Low vision or discomfort caused by eyeglasses or contacts that are not the right prescription

• Hearing loss

• Constipation

• Hunger or thirst

• Pain or discomfort caused by an injury such as a strain, bruise, insect bite, or developing bedsore

• Dizziness

• Desire for social attention

• Anxiety associated with a new situation or new people

• Desire for sensory stimulation

As a family caregiver it is your responsibility to not only recognize these behaviors, but also to link them to their triggers so you are able to address the situation in an effort to resolve the issue rather than just avoid or stop the behaviors. This improves your quality of care and your loved ones’ quality of life.

Try these tips to start interpreting your parents’ negative behaviors:

• Journal. Keep a journal of your parents’ behaviors, when in the day they happen, what is going on at the time, and what, if anything, seemed to calm them. This can help you trace the behaviors back to specific triggers

• Talk to them. Communicate with your parents’ during these behaviors and encourage them to explain what is wrong. Even if they are not able to verbalize the problem, letting them know you want to know what is wrong can give them a sense of comfort and security. They may also be able to find ways to communicate their needs to you, such as nodding if you mention it or pointing to something

• Maintain attentive care. Always be sure your parents’ core needs are met. Keep up a routine so they eat, drink, go to the restroom, bathe, visit with a care provider or family members, watch TV, and rest at the same times each day. This helps eliminate the uncomfortable sensations of hunger, thirst, tiredness, and loneliness, as well as anxiety from not knowing what is happening

If your elderly loved ones are showing negative behaviors as they progress through dementia, get in touch with the elder care agency to find out about hiring a home care provider with experience in this type of care.

If you or an aging loved one are in need of caregiver services in Sugarland, TX, please call the staff at New Frontier Home Care. We are available to answer your senior care questions! Call Today at (832) 664-7394. Providing care in Houston, River Oaks, The Heights, Memorial, Katy, Kingwood, Spring, Pearland, The Woodlands, Sugar Land & League City.

Gary Williams

Director of Marketing at New Frontier Home Care
Gary’s father suffered from transverse myelitis, which is a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord & caused him to be wheelchair bound until he passed in 2011. After spending years helping care for his father, Gary became determined to get involved in the healthcare industry with the goal of providing care to those in need, in the comfort of their own homes.
Gary completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management on a full-ride scholarship at North Dakota State University. He returned back to his hometown of Houston & joined the Houston Police Department, putting his life on the line to keep others safe. Currently Gary stays involved with the police force through monthly volunteer work, but his main priority is New Frontier Home Care, where he serves as Marketing Director.
Gary is a Verified Google Author

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About the author: Gary Williams
Gary’s father suffered from transverse myelitis, which is a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord & caused him to be wheelchair bound until he passed in 2011. After spending years helping care for his father, Gary became determined to get involved in the healthcare industry with the goal of providing care to those in need, in the comfort of their own homes. Gary completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management on a full-ride scholarship at North Dakota State University. He returned back to his hometown of Houston & joined the Houston Police Department, putting his life on the line to keep others safe. Currently Gary stays involved with the police force through monthly volunteer work, but his main priority is New Frontier Home Care, where he serves as Marketing Director. Gary is a Verified Google Author