“One big reason these behaviors are ‘unwanted’ is because they disrupt your life,” points out Ms. Rubinstein, author of the new book, Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia’s: The Caregiver’s Complete Survival Guide. “Sure, many behaviors are unhealthy and dangerous for you and your loved one. Other times, though, it’s not the actual behavior that’s causing so much trouble—it’s our reaction to that behavior, based on the mindset we’ve locked ourselves into.”
She says we believe that the way we think things should be is the only way (or at least the only right way). Thus, we limit our own options when it comes to dealing with the patient. What’s more, we don’t want our relationship with the person to change—and these behaviors are 24/7 evidence that it has changed…dramatically and forever.
Ms. Rubinstein speaks from firsthand knowledge. In addition to her 26 years as a licensed clinical social worker and geriatric care manager, she also served as a primary caregiver for 16 years after her own mother was diagnosed with dementia.
“Sometimes, the new normal is more a problem for you than for your parent. For instance, you—not your loved one—are the person who tends to get upset when the same question is asked over and over again. I’m not saying it’s easy, but the best thing to do is get into the patient’s world and provide the answer over and over again.”
Ms. Rubinstein shared with AgingCare.com some common behaviors that baffle and frustrate caregivers—and gave practical advice on how to handle them – while keeping your sanity.
Is Alzheimer’s Behavior the Patient’s Problem…or the Caregiver’s? originally appeared on AgingCare.com. Visit AgingCare.com for more information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.