Caregiving is a difficult task. When taking care of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or any other condition characterized by cognitive impairment, tempers can flare at a moment’s notice causing both the caregiver and the patient to suffer. Anxiety is a common side effect with these types of conditions and one that caregiver’s work hard to help their patients avoid.
As a caregiver, there are certain things you can do to improve the sense of resilience and avoid agitating the temper of your patient unintentionally. Here are six things to steer clear from so that you can keep a peaceful and serene environment for you and your patient.
- Eliminate the chaos –The atmosphere surrounding your patient has a direct impact on how they feel. When the atmosphere is stressful and chaotic, people tend to internalize those same feelings. However, when the atmosphere is calm and relaxing, the patient too becomes calm and at ease. Steer clear of chaos in your environment to help prevent unnecessary agitation.
- Remove emotional triggers from the environment – Avoiding emotional triggers in the environment surrounding your patient can also help to prevent temper outbursts. Removing pictures that incite strong feelings, turning off the television that could bring up negative emotion, or eliminating any other factors that may lead to an outburst can help prevent these negative emotions from starting in the first place.
- Check in frequently with personal comfort levels – Many patients do not want to bother their caregivers with unnecessary needs. As a caregiver, if you check in regularly to make sure that a person is comfortable and happy, they will appreciate that you cared enough to ask and will be more at peace.
- Lend a listening ear when needed – Talking can be therapeutic. For many people suffering from cognitive conditions, having someone who will lend a listening ear is enough to keep them calm throughout the day. Take some time to listen to what your patient has to say and you may be surprised at just how meaningful it is to the person you are there to help.
- Create a routine with meaningful activities – Sometimes simple activity, such as going for a car ride or taking a walk can bring a lot of joy to a person whose life has been changed by a disease. As a caregiver, it helps to be aware of what brings happiness to your patient and involve them whenever possible in these activities.
- Watch your tone and body language – Caregivers experience their own sense of frustration at work and in their personal lives. Sometimes, these agitations can come out over patients unintentionally. Be aware of how you speak to a patient and the body language you use. You may unknowingly incite agitation in your patient leaving them feeling unhappy and potentially with tempers flying.
Taking care of someone with dementia or any other cognitive impairment can be difficult. Use these tips to help you care for your patients in a way that will keep them calm, happy and temper-free.
About the Author: Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent like disability courses and provides Certificate 3 in aged care. When not working, you can find her on Google+ or spends the day with her baby boy.