Remember these 5 things before talking about dementia

Having a conversation about changes a person sees in a loved one as they age can be difficult. Especially when the changes affect daily living. If you notice signs of cognitive decline in a family member, exercise your curiosity to look a little deeper.

Driving with dementia – getting a person to stop

In Mild Cognitive Impairment and the earliest stage of dementia, some people are still driving without risk to themselves or others. But with a degenerative disease, when is it no longer safe to drive, and what is the best way to convince a person to stop driving?

Aducanumab – the controversy

Aducanumab is designed to slow the progression of cognitive decline in those experiencing MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) and early stage dementia. Aducanumab is the first to actually slow the decline of dementia. But it is surrounded by controversy. Let’s examine that.

Survival brain in dementia, explained

Our human drive to survive may escalate symptom-related behaviors if dementia is present. Survival instincts come from the hippocampus and the amygdalae. The different ways that dementia changes their functions causes the symptoms of dementia to escalate.

Delusional narratives caused by dementia

Sometimes dementia-related delusions involve unhappy events, memories or fictional narratives of the present. Unlike dementia-related hallucinations, there is a plot or story line when delusions of the present occur.

Pacing, fidgeting, and other repetitive dementia symptoms

Repetitive actions may be dementia-related symptoms which signal over- or under-stimulation, or an expression of undetected pain. The person with dementia may resort to repetitive actions such as fidgeting or pacing when provoked by these triggers.

Verbal outbursts in dementia caregiving

When people living with dementia have verbal outbursts, it can be inconvenient for dementia caregivers, embarrassing, or hurtful. Although inappropriate, verbal outbursts are not intentional. Even if the words used are articulate, they may not express the speaker’s true feelings if dementia is involved. Verbal outbursts are a common symptom of dementia.

De-escalating violent outbursts in dementia caregiving

When a person living with dementia hits, kicks, spits, shoves, or shows other aggression towards a caregiver it may be motivated by pain, strong dislike, or fear. I recently coached a professional caregiver, Lila, who had a troubling encounter with a resident at the assisted living community where she worked.

Reality orientation: it’s still necessary, sometimes.

Reality orientation is usually not recommended, unless danger threatens the person with dementia or those around him or her. And, whenever possible, scapegoats can help dementia caregivers remain trusted by their family members or clients living with dementia. A few examples…


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