Nurse Jan Dougherty shares when a person with Alzheimer's is most likely to act out.
You know the evening hours are very difficult for most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and that is the number one issue is fatigue. These folks again, are challenged as they’re making their way through their day; having to sort through language, having to do everyday tasks that call upon so much more of them, and if they haven’t had a rest period along the way, which often times they haven’t because these have been very busy people and we expect them to keep up with their pace and they can’t, and come evening time, we find that they become irritable, that they become physically agitated, wanting to move around a lot.
They might become paranoid. We might see very unwanted behaviors and the issue really is fatigue and then if we understand that and we look at what let into it 24 hours before time, we’ve got a plan and factor that in.
In fact, we hear from with the patients and families we work with, that we say, “We want you to take a nap at 2 o’clock every day and you don’t have to lay down your bed. Perhaps you just want to sit in your favorite chair and listen to music, not CNN, but something comfortable, something relaxing. We need to give your brain and your body some downtime,” and then I would say going into the evening time before dinner, offering a snack for this individual, making sure that the TV isn’t blaring again, controlling that kind of excess stimuli will really help the evenings be much better.
We call those to be ‘bewitching hours’ and you know, for women, they’ll get this because they know what happen to their two-year-old if they missed the nap or they missed a snack or one more error on the way home at the end of the day, the two-year-old has a meltdown in the frozen food aisle.
Again, these are not children so I don’t want to make the analogy, but women get what happens to children without naps. We’re doing the same thing to these very fragile brains who need the same sort of regulation and help and assistance for them to be their best, just as we wanted our children to be their best going into the evening hours.
About Nurse Dougherty, R.N., M.S.:
Registered Nurse Jan Dougherty is the director of family and community services at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and has a master’s degree in gerontological nursing.
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