Watching a loved one suffer from memory loss can be extremely taxing. Here at Prosperity Pointe, we understand the unique struggle those battling dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory loss face. At our assisted living facility, we have a specific memory care program geared towards improving the happiness and well-being of those suffering from memory loss. If you are looking for a memory care facility in Knoxville where your family will be treated with care and the help they deserve, come visit our beautiful property. Our memory care program includes dedicated nurses, mind, body, and soul therapy, pet therapy, small group activities, and more.
When you spend time with your loved one, you want the experience to be pleasant and uplifting for you both. However, those who are suffering from memory loss often exhibit frustrating behaviors. Read on to learn more about how you can best handle these difficult situations as they arise.
Confusion About Where They Are
One of the most common things for those suffering from memory loss to be confused about where they are. This not only applies to their physical location, but their location in time as well. You will usually be tipped off to their confusion by situations like the following:
- Your loved one keeps saying they want to go home, even though they have lived in the assisted care facility for a long time. In some cases, they may go as far as packing up their belongings and asking to be taken home.
- Your loved one talks about a different period of their life as if it were the present. This often leads to conversations where they talk about their deceased spouse as if they were still alive, or their now adult children as if they were still young.
- Your loved one repeatedly asks, “when are we leaving?” while in an unfamiliar place. For example, perhaps you were enjoying a lunch at a nice restaurant and suddenly your loved one keeps asking to leave. This can be a sign that they are confused about where they are and feel unsafe.
Handling this situation requires patience and care. Unfortunately, reasoning with someone suffering from memory loss and confusion is not particularly helpful. In fact, insisting upon the fact that they are home, or that their spouse passed away long ago may only serve to agitate them further.
The best solution is to try to help your loved one feel safe. For example, if they have all their items packed and they are insistent upon going home, try to redirect your loved one to a different activity. Maybe gently suggest that instead of leaving right now, you could both go enjoy a short walk together first. The good news is that if your loved one is residing at our memory care facility, a dedicated nurse will always be on call to help. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out for assistance. It often is better to ask for help and keep yourself calm, then to get worked up yourself and wind up taking your frustration out on your loved one.
It is very common for those suffering from memory loss to exhibit aggressive behaviors that may have never been part of their personality prior. This can be especially difficult to watch, as you feel like your loved one has completely changed. Remember, when your loved one is verbally or physically aggressive, they are not acting this way maliciously or on purpose. Their aggression is usually triggered by a feeling of helplessness or fear. New situations, sudden confusion, and physical discomfort can trigger aggression.
Usually aggression starts with a strong statement or refusal, i.e. “I don’t want to do that!” If pushed further it can escalate to physical aggression. The key here is to remain calm yourself and try to figure out what is causing them fear, pain, or confusion. Make sure your loved one is not in any danger, and then focus on what will be most calming for them. There is no one size-fits-all answer here. Your loved one might respond best to a gentle conversation and a loving touch. For others, physical touch may make them feel further threatened. Sometimes walking away for a bit and letting them have space is appropriate. This is where knowing your loved one well truly helps. Do they have a favorite item, such as a teddy bear or trinket from the past that calms them down? Does being around a therapy dog help bring them into a peaceful state? Figure out what things mean the most to your loved one.
Never engage in an argument or force the issue that caused the aggressive behavior to begin with. This will only heighten their distress. Try to avoid any physical force, unless absolutely imperative for their safety.
Looking for a safe, loving environment for your loved one suffering from memory loss? Talk to us today about our outstanding memory care program in Knoxville.