Aggression during personal care: caregiver behavior counts!

From Alzheimer’s Care Guide Vol 22 No.2

A team of the University of Michigan School of Nursing found that caregivers negative facial and verbal expressions are major triggers for dementia related aggressive behaviors during showering.

The team reached the conclusion, published in The Gerontologist, after observing more than one hundred nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s Disease for three weeks.

Previous studies have found negative caregiver behaviors such as hurrying residents and using “baby talk” increased aggression during bathing, dressing and oral care.

Together, these findings suggest that being kind and respectful, smiling often, and offering friendly words of reassurance are some of the most powerful tools caregivers have to prevent dementia-related aggression during personal care activities.In the community homes or family settings these care tips are powerful tools: When assisting or performing personal care always be calm, not hurried, give one task at a time to do.

Get your elders out in the sunshine!

Here is some advice from researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing: Get your dementia elders outside in good weather.

“Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders to people’s spirit,” they say. Plus, “Research has shown that, when residents with dementia use outdoor spaces, agitation and aggression reduce, independence is promoted and memory recall is more likely to occur.”

Spending time outside (if health conditions allow) has been shown to improve social skills and sleep at night.

In addition, it gives residents the chance to be physically active through engagement in familiar activities.

“Have residents help sweep leaves and dirt off of deck or patio, pick up sticks, fill the bird feeder, and plant and water the flowers,” say researchers.

They will feel more like home, and their sense of self worth and wellbeing will improve as a result.

This information was directed towards the assisted living environment but can easily be translated into the personal or community family home.