Elderly adults living with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit a wide range of behaviors and symptoms associated with their cognitive functioning decline. As the disease progresses and more brain cells are lost to the disease, your senior’s perception of the world around them, and how they are able to interact with it, changes.
For those in the moderate to advanced stages of the disease, this can include delusions and suspicions. Your parent may believe things that are irrational, or carry serious suspicions such as thinking those who are caring for them are stealing from them, or are betraying them in some way.
This can be very challenging for you as a family caregiver, and it is important to approach it carefully in order to cope effectively. Coping with the suspicions of a senior with Alzheimer’s disease in a meaningfull way is critical to not only preserving your own health, well-being, and safety, but also ensuring you continue to give them the care they need and deserve as they progress through their disease.
Use these tips to help you cope with suspicions and a senior with Alzheimer’s disease:
Don’t take these thoughts or suspicions personally. It can be very hard to hear your parent accuse you of doing inappropriate things. When this happens, however, it is essential you do not take it personally. This is not about you. Instead, it is a response to the disease. Remind yourself that your parent is not purposely accusing you, or trying to hurt you. This is the disease talking.
Avoid arguing with your parent. Even if your parent’s delusions are completely outlandish, don’t try to argue with them. They cannot be convinced, and attempting to convince them will upset, frustrate, and possibly even anger your parent. Instead, acknowledge what they think so they know they are heard and understood, and then try to defuse the situation.
Express yourself in simple terms. Give your parent a simple, straight-forward explanation for what is happening, or to try to reduce their negative thoughts. Avoid complicated explanations, or going into extensive detail. Instead, simply give them another perspective. For example, if they think someone stole something from them, present it to them and state it was just put somewhere else.
Distract your parent. Help get your parent’s mind off of these suspicious behaviors by distracting them with something else. Get them involved in an activity, ask for help with a chore, or suggest a walk or other task.
Elderly care can be one of the most valuable resources you have when you are a caregiver for an elderly adult who is living with Alzheimer’s disease. An elderly home care services provider can be with your parent when it is right for them, and for you and the care you give, to offer a full range of services specifically designed with them in mind.
This means care and assistance tailored not just to their needs and challenges, but also to their personality, goals, and preferences. Through this care, which can include transportation, meal preparation, assistance with personal care needs, medication reminders, and more, an elderly care provider can help your parent stay healthier, happier, and more fulfilled, while maintaining as much independence as possible as they age in place.