Alzheimer's Disease: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Ronald C. Handy; James M. Turnbull et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Management of Difficult
Behaviors
Mary M Lancaster
Lynda C Abusamra
Warren G Clark

It is not enough for the physician to do what is
necessary, but the patient and the attendants
must do their part as well, and circumstances
must be favorable
.

—Hippocrates

Difficult behaviors associated with Alzheimer's disease often produce significant stress in caregivers. Behaviors discussed in this chapter are not applicable to all Alzheimer's patients; indeed, some patients may never experience any of them. When these behaviors present they are usually time-limited: as the disease progresses, they often disappear. Whenever difficult and problem behaviors arise, they demand special attention.Helping patients and caregivers with any of these behaviors requires careful identification and definition of the problem, thoughtful planning for intervening, and consistency in carrying out a plan of action. Good communication between cation with the patient is often not easy because of the degree of cognitive impairment. A quiet environment, repeating information, use of touch, visual reinforcement, and use of spech patterns familiar to the patient enhance the communication process.
MEANING OF BEHAVIOR
Difficult or problem behaviors typically are grounded in one of three areas:
1. The tasks or activities the patient faces appear insurmountable.
2. There is a communication breakdown.
3. Something in the environment is provoking the patient. For the patient with Alzheimer's disease, an insurmountable task is anything

that is too complicated to perform, is no longer familiar, or one that requires

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