Most seniors with dementia experience a wide variety of symptoms, and that often includes sudden mood swings. Your aging loved one might become angry or aggressive in the blink of an eye, and you need to know how to handle those emotions. It might be tempting to yell at your loved one or ignore him or her entirely, but that could make the situation worse. Here are five tips you can use to handle dementia-related mood swings.
1. Start Identifying Triggers
As with many other dementia symptoms, sudden mood swings are often caused by external stimuli. As the condition progresses, it might damage some of the areas of the brain responsible for interpreting sights and sounds, and your loved one could become agitated when exposed to loud noises or bright lights. Whenever you notice those triggers, try to write them down in a caregiving journal so they can be avoided in the future.
Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Clearwater seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
2. Take the Mood Swings Seriously
Many seniors with dementia find it difficult to tell others what they’re experiencing, and some may become angry when their basic needs aren’t being met. If your loved one suddenly becomes angry, make sure he or she is comfortable and well-fed. You might be able to calm your loved one down simply by adjusting the thermostat or providing a blanket if he or she seems cold. You can also offer a nutritious snack, such as sliced apples or a handful of roasted nuts.
The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Clearwater, FL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Make Sure Your Loved One Is Stimulated
Boredom is another common trigger for many older adults who have dementia, which is why your loved one needs to remain stimulated. Scheduling a few activities throughout the day gives your loved one something to focus on and reduces the risk of an emotional outburst. Some of the best activities for seniors with dementia include listening to music, going on walks, and crafting. Once you’ve found a few things your loved one seems to enjoy, adopt those activities into the daily routine.
4. Have Distractions Ready
Some severe mood swings are going to come out of nowhere, and the best way to deescalate those situations is to distract your loved one. As soon as you notice your loved one’s mood changing, move him or her to a calm and safe environment. After you’ve moved your loved one, put on his or her favorite music or pull out a photo album to look at.
5. Consider Validation Therapy
Your loved one will most likely become even angrier if you argue or try to reason with him or her. When your loved one becomes delusional, you might want to acknowledge those thoughts instead of refuting them. This concept is known as validation therapy, and it’s an extremely effective tool for many caregivers. Listening to your loved one explain his or her delusions could be enough to calm him or her down.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted homecare services provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. We’re here to help. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.