Posted on: August 12, 2020
It may come seemingly out of the blue: you place your loved one’s favorite tuna sandwich on the table – light on the mayo, no onions – something which usually brings her happiness. But today, she forces the plate away and does not want to take a bite, insisting that you have poisoned the food.
Or, you’ve presented your loved one with a meaningful activity that links her to an important time in her past career, sorting paperwork. Suddenly, she charges you with meddling with the documents in order to steal money from her bank account.
How can you most successfully diffuse situations like these, which are resulting from the delusions or hallucinations which are common in Alzheimer’s? Start with these three dementia care tips for false accusations.
- Maintain a controlled, soothing, understanding tone. It may be instinctive to become defensive and refute the accusation, but appropriate responses might include something like, “I realize that you are feeling afraid, but I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Let’s enjoy this meal together,” or, “Oh no, are you missing some money? The bank isn’t open at this time, but let’s go there right away tomorrow to get it figured out.”
- Move into a welcomed diversion. After sharing in the senior’s concern, transition into an enjoyable subject or activity that your loved one enjoys, or relocate to another area. In the case of the suspected food poisoning, you could engage a senior loved one in going to the kitchen and helping her prepare a new sandwich. If you’ve reassured your loved one that you’ll visit the bank together tomorrow, a walk outside to view the flowers and birds, or playing some favorite music, can help.
- Never argue or try to reason. These tactics very often escalate agitation in someone with dementia. It may take some time and experience to formulate the approach that is best, and that approach might need to vary from one day to the next. The goal is to stay relaxed, patient, and empathetic, confirming the senior’s feelings and providing comfort.
Alivity Care Advocates’ senior care advisors are highly trained and experienced in effective, creative Alzheimer’s care techniques. Our team is here to locate, arrange, and monitor dementia care services and to support you and your loved one with dementia. Contact us today at (248) 375-9125 to learn more or to inquire about our care management services to help you better care for a family member with Alzheimer’s.