Nurse Jan Dougherty shares how a caregiver can prevent personalizing frustration with their Alzheimer's family member.
Boy that can really be tough for caregivers because, you know, we love this person so much and we often take on the hurt and the exasperation maybe that the person is feeling and so one of the things we try to do is teach caregivers how to bring pleasant distracters to lift the moment and make it better.
So we like things like using humor works wonderfully. It’s, how can you use something of humor, a favorite joke to help turn the situation relatively quickly? How can you maybe put on some pleasant music that can turn the tide? “Oh honey, do you remember when we used to listen to this?” and can take maybe a negative situation and turn it around and neutralize it if nothing else.
Sometimes just switching the topic can be really helpful for caregivers to diffuse the frustration that the person is having and that then they carry over and here is the problem, if the caregiver doesn’t get rid of that frustration themselves, the person is going to forget with dementia. They are going to forget that they were frustrated and exasperated, but you don’t forget. So they are happy again and you’re now miserable and guess what, they’re going to feel your misery.
So again, it’s funny, those brief moments of joy that we can kind of neutralize and turn around the situation to fuse it.
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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