Dementia symptoms can cause dramatic changes in a person ‘s personality. As the condition progresses, it can be difficult for family and caregivers to adjust to these changes and cope with their effects. Fortunately, there are strategies you can implement to make it more manageable.
Understand the Causes
It is important to understand the reasons behind any personality changes experienced by someone with dementia symptoms. Dementia affects different areas of the brain, which causes certain cognitive functions such as memory and problem-solving abilities to deteriorate over time. This can lead to behaviors such as confusion, restlessness, agitation, aggression, or irritability, which often accompany personality changes in people with dementia. Knowing why these changes are occurring can help you better understand how to handle them.
Separate Emotions From Actions
Try not to take any actions or words said personally, but rather focus on understanding the underlying emotion behind them. For example, if someone with dementia symptoms becomes agitated or angry, it could be due to feeling overwhelmed or confused rather than directed at you specifically. Practicing empathy can help provide insight into how they are feeling and make it easier to respond in a calm and supportive manner.
When dealing with a person who has dementia symptoms and is experiencing personality changes, it is essential to be patient and understanding. People with dementia may become easily frustrated or confused so it’s important not to take any outbursts personally and remain calm when interacting with them. It’s also helpful if you give them plenty of time to process information or formulate responses as this can reduce misunderstandings that could cause agitation or distress.
Seek Professional Help
If you are unable to manage the behavior at home on your own, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a medical team who specializes in caring for people living with dementia. This team will be able not only provide support, but also advice on how best to manage the particular situation and improve quality of life for both yourself and the person living with dementia. I also offer family counseling sessions to help with this.
Establishing routines and creating a calm environment for the person can help reduce stress and confusion. This could include setting regular wake-up times, having meals at the same time each day, or introducing activities that they find enjoyable such as listening to music or reading stories.
It is important to allow the person with dementia to retain their independence as much as possible. Try not to take over tasks if they are still able to do them themselves, but also provide enough support so that they feel comfortable and safe while completing tasks. It may also help to keep distractions such as noises or other people away while they are concentrating on something.
Connect with Loved Ones
Maintaining relationships with friends and family is important for the person living with dementia symptoms. Seeing familiar faces can provide comfort during difficult times, so try to have regular video calls or visits when possible. It may also be beneficial for caregivers of someone with dementia to maintain relationships outside of caring for their loved one – this will help them have an emotional outlet of their own which can be beneficial in managing any stresses or frustrations associated with caregiving.
If you are interested in becoming Dementia Aware to help you better care for those who have dementia symptoms, please check out my training and speaking options.