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The higher the CRI the higher the number of potential caregivers there are to each frail elder. Indian family caregivers are similar to non-Indian caregivers in many ways; however, the resources available to them are much more limited than for non-Indian caregivers. In addition, eligibility criteria for long-term care services are often couched in language that is not culturally sensitive.

Garrett, M. Aging Today, 29 6 , McGuire, L. Okoro, C.

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Top of Page. These characteristics challenge eating and nutrition. Coupled with age-related changes in appetite, thirst, and sense of smell and taste, dementia can stir up difficulties with eating behaviors and mealtimes. Centerpieces, extra silverware, and multiple foods can cause confusion.


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Offering one or two foods at a time may increase focus and food consumed. Some people benefit from a quiet environment free of televisions, loud music, distracting conversations, areas with increased foot traffic, or windows. Also remember that verbal cues and food setup such as opening containers, taking off lids, and removing silverware from packaging may be necessary. Finger foods like quartered sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and sliced fruits and vegetables encourage independence during mealtime since ability to use silverware is not a limiting factor.

Helping with Activities of Daily Living

Observe mealtime Caregivers like speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, dietitians, nurses, and aides can obtain valuable insight into food preferences and eating concerns though meal rounds. Since people with dementia may have trouble expressing their preferences , observing the foods eaten allows for customization of future meals. You may notice that someone always refuses peas or takes beverages from a straw better than a cup. This is a good time to watch for signs and symptoms of dysphagia trouble swallowing like pocketing food, coughing, choking, or food or beverages spilling out of the mouth, which warrant further swallow evaluation.

Go with the flow Anticipate that mealtimes may take longer or be extra messy. This is normal. People with dementia are constantly changing. Someone who loved pasta previously may not desire it again. People may forget that a meal already happened and insist on having another one. This fact sheet provides some practical strategies for dealing with the troubling behavior problems and communication difficulties often encountered when caring for a person with dementia.

Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

Caregiver’s Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors | Family Caregiver Alliance

Some of the greatest challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia are the personality and behavior changes that often occur. You can best meet these challenges by using creativity, flexibility, patience, and compassion. It also helps to not take things personally and maintain your sense of humor. We cannot change the person. The person you are caring for has a brain disorder that shapes who he has become. Check with the doctor first. Behavioral problems may have an underlying medical reason: perhaps the person is in pain or experiencing an adverse side effect from medications.

In some cases, like incontinence or hallucinations, there may be some medication or treatment that can assist in managing the problem. Behavior has a purpose. People with dementia typically cannot tell us what they want or need. They might do something, like take all the clothes out of the closet on a daily basis, and we wonder why. It is very likely that the person is fulfilling a need to be busy and productive.

Always consider what need the person might be trying to meet with their behavior—and, when possible, try to accommodate them. Behavior is triggered. It is important to understand that all behavior is triggered—it occurs for a reason. It might be something a person did or said that triggered a behavior, or it could be a change in the physical environment.

The root to changing behavior is disrupting the patterns that we create. Try a different approach, or try a different consequence. What works today, may not tomorrow. The key to managing difficult behaviors is being creative and flexible in your strategies to address a given issue. Get support from others. You are not alone—there are many others caring for someone with dementia. Expect that, like the loved one you are caring for, you will have good days and bad days. Develop strategies for coping with the bad days.

The following is an overview of the most common dementia-associated behaviors, with suggestions that may be useful in handling them. They also may be trying to fulfill a physical need—thirst, hunger, a need to use the toilet, or exercise. Discovering the triggers for wandering are not always easy, but they can provide insights to dealing with the behavior. The loss of bladder or bowel control often occurs as dementia progresses.

If an accident occurs, your understanding and reassurance will help the person maintain dignity and minimize embarrassment. Agitation refers to a range of behaviors associated with dementia, including irritability, sleeplessness, and verbal or physical aggression.

Caregiver Guilt - Memory and Alzheimer's Disease

Often these types of behavior problems progress with the stages of dementia, from mild to more severe. Agitation may be triggered by a variety of things, including environmental factors, fear, and fatigue. People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over.

Nutritious recipes

While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors. Seeing a loved one suddenly become suspicious, jealous, or accusatory is unsettling. Remember, what the person is experiencing is very real to them. It is best not to argue or disagree.

Activities for Individuals with Dementia – Ideas for Stimulation and Fun

This, too, is part of the dementia—try not to take it personally. Restlessness, agitation, disorientation, and other troubling behavior in people with dementia often get worse at the end of the day and sometimes continue throughout the night. Ensuring that your loved one is eating enough nutritious foods and drinking enough fluids is a challenge. People with dementia literally begin to forget that they need to eat and drink.

From childhood we are taught these are highly private and personal activities; to be undressed and cleaned by another can feel frightening, humiliating, and embarrassing.

see As a result, bathing often causes distress for both caregivers and their loved ones.