As part of Carepoint’s ongoing employee training with the Alzheimer’s Association, this month’s focus was on understanding and relating to dementia-related behavior. Specifically, learning the 4 steps that apply to the five common types of behavior – anxiety, confusion, aggression, repetition and wandering.
1. Detect and connect – This simply means to join the person in his or her reality, to listen, understand their feelings and then identify the triggers for the behavior.
2. Address physical issues first – Is there pain, reaction to medication, hunger, thirst, or physical discomfort from temperature, lighting or sounds?
3. Address emotional needs – Focus on the feelings, not the facts. Reinforce that you are there to help and redirect their energy into a more soothing activity.
4. Reassess and plan for next time – What went well and what didn’t? If you anticipate and make a plan, you can be prepared to handle the same or a similar situation in the future.
Although the behaviors you encounter can change many times as the disease progresses, these 4 steps will generally apply throughout the entire course of the disease. Thank you to the Alzheimer’s Association for another great session.