Alzheimer’s Care and Mitigating Negative Emotions
Family caregivers often encounter challenges in handling their aging loved one’s negative emotions. If you are a family caregiver caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you have probably encountered behaviors in them that have been difficult to address.
One common symptom of Alzheimer’s is a change in behaviors and mood. Because degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s degrade parts of the brain, it can be hard for impacted individuals to control their behaviors and emotions regularly. This can often take place in the mid- to late-stages of the disorder. Thus, it can be difficult for your loved one to manage anger, aggression, and fear. So, it is important to remember that your loved one might act negatively because of their condition, which can often be compounded with a decreased capacity to communicate these frustrations effectively.
When your loved one is experiencing a negative emotion, trying to find out the cause can be difficult. For example, your loved one may be frustrated because they have a need, but they are not able to fully express what it is.
The effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain can change the way your loved one communicates, expresses emotions, and their ability to take care of themselves. As a result, family caregivers may not know exactly how to respond when their loved ones are distressed. Below, we will go over common causes that lead to negative behaviors and emotions and how you can be proactive to help mitigate or even prevent those behaviors. In general, it is crucial to remain patient and to listen to your loved one, both verbally and physically. In other words, pay attention to what your loved one is saying to you and how they are behaving, the latter being especially important if your loved one is unable to talk as much as before.
Consider these tips:
- Pay attention to the surroundings: Sometimes those with degenerative neurological disorders react negatively to unfamiliar surroundings. This can often be due to poor lighting, which can cast unfamiliar shadows on the walls and floor, or to new places, which can overwhelm your loved one. Make sure to keep rooms well-lit and to ensure that when you bring your loved one to a new location that the new environment is not loud and overwhelming.
- Pain: Perhaps your loved one is uncomfortable. Maybe their chair is hurting their back or they are feeling unwell after eating a meal. If your loved one is unable to express themselves, a way to figure out what is wrong is to ask your loved one a “yes” or “no” questions. For example, “Is your stomach bothering you?” or “Do your feet hurt?” These kinds of questions make it easy for your loved one to respond to you because open-ended questions can often cause more confusion and frustration.
- Lack of sleep: This causes frustration in just about everybody. Not sleeping is tied to a decreased ability to regulate emotions, depression, and anxiety. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s can negatively impact people’s sleeping patterns. To ensure your loved one can get the most sleep possible, create a consistent daily schedule for them, establishing a designated time for sleep. Keep them away from TVs and loud environments at night as this can often interview with someone’s ability to “calm down” as they prepare for bed.
For more tips or if you have any other questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website for more information.