During your senior’s entire experience with dementia, there have probably been moments that scared both you and your aging adult.
In the later stages of dementia, however, there are likely to be behaviors your senior exhibits that she’s not aware of at all. This can make caregiving that much more difficult.
If your elderly family member doesn’t understand what’s going on around her, she might experience some justifiable fear. She might display this in an aggressive manner, which is then easy for you to misinterpret as well. Learning what triggers your senior’s aggressive behavior can help you to avoid it.
Agitation and Sundowning Behaviors
Later in the day, it’s easy for aging adults with dementia to become confused and more agitated than usual. They might become more fearful at this time, too. Because this is happening as the sun goes down, this is typically called sundowning. You can usually find some ways to help your senior to deal better with this time of day, which can help to soothe those agitated feelings.
One of the ways that your elderly family member might soothe herself is with repetitive movements. She might pace or wring her hands, depending on how mobile she is able to be. Increasing your aging family member’s activity level in a healthy manner can help with this at times. Often this happens because your elderly family member might be nervous or uncomfortable.
Periods of No Movement
For some aging family members in the later stages of dementia, the excessive or repetitive movement isn’t the problem. They might instead become primarily motionless and stop responding at all to you or to anyone else. This can be upsetting and frustrating for you as her caregiver, especially if you’re not able to get her to eat or to drink.
If your elderly family member sees, hears, or even feels things that aren’t there, she’s experiencing hallucinations. This can be common in the later stages of dementia, but they can be upsetting to witness. Some people get relief from hallucinations with the assistance of some medications, so be sure to mention them to your senior’s doctor.
During the later stages of dementia, having hospice care providers on hand can help you to understand what is going on. They can also help you to develop strategies and processes that help you to do the best that you can for your elderly family member at this point.