Aug 22, 2017

My Alzheimer’s Story Asks 20 Questions: Understanding the Frustrations and Agitation of a Person Living with Dementia

A common experience that many people with dementia go through is agitation and frustration – and for their loved ones it can be a challenge to understand why they may be going through this.

For some people, when they are upset, they may display behaviours such as pacing and fiddling. Others may let out their frustrations in physical aggression.

But what is the root of these reactions? My Alzheimer’s Story, gave some insight saying that “people with dementia behave in logical, natural and understandable ways to stressful situations”

What often happens is that their behaviour is attributed to the disease rather than to whatever catalyst actually sparked it.

My Alzheimer’s Story posed 20 questions that people should ask themselves to help understand why someone with dementia might get angry or aggressive. 

Here are five of the questions – if you want to read the other 15 go HERE

  1. What would you do if you had to walk a mile in their shoes?
  2. How would you react if your children took your car keys away and told you couldn’t drive anymore for no reason?
  3. How would you react if people told you it was daytime when you knew for a fact it was the middle of the night?
  4. How would you respond if someone told you strangers would be coming to your house where you had lived alone for decades to take care of you because you couldn’t take care of yourself?
  5. What would you say if someone came and took your dog or cat away?

Ask the article states, most people who do not have dementia would not react well under these circumstances. But this is often a reality and common experience for people with dementia.

A common factor between a lot of these situations is that the frustrated person is not being listened to and that things are being done against their will.

People with dementia, when they exhibit agitation or aggressive behaviour, are often put on medications for reactions that are triggered by their environment or other people.

Many dementia experts advocate for a more compassionate style of care where carers need to see the world through the eyes of the person with dementia. 

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