How to Respond When a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Has Loss of Inhibitions
Awkwardness. Discomfort. Disbelief. Shame. Most of these feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s heart when your family member with Alzheimer’s disease displays disinhibited behaviors, such as:
- Rude or tactless comments
- Unacceptable sexual advances or remarks
- Removal of clothes at improper times
- And other socially unacceptable actions
The complex changes that occur to the brain in dementia can result in a complete turnaround in an older adult’s personality and behaviors, such as a formerly genteel grandmother suddenly cursing like a sailor. For somebody who is uncomfortable, disoriented, confused, or has simply forgotten social skills and graces, these behaviors are actually quite common; therefore, it’s important to figure out how to best manage them if and when they develop in someone you love.
Generations at Home’s dementia care experts highly recommend trying the following tactics when a loved one with Alzheimer’s has loss of inhibitions:
- See if there is a solvable problem evoking the behaviors, such as a physical illness, medication complications, the need to utilize the rest room, environment-induced anxiety, etc.
- Remind yourself that the Alzheimer’s disease is to blame, and respond gently and patiently, without overreacting or lashing out in anger.
- Help the older adult remain involved in appropriate activities based on his or her individual interests. If the senior becomes agitated with a particular activity, change to something different, or relocate to another room in your house or outdoors whenever possible.
- Pay attention to clothing choices, if removing clothes at inappropriate times is an issue. If the senior has been wearing pants without zippers for ease and comfort, you might switch to something a little bit more difficult to remove when out in public, for example.
- Be sure that all the individual’s physical needs are met to circumvent problematic behaviors. Maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, keep numerous healthy snacks and drinks handy, and support regular physical activity and movement.
- Provide appropriate physical contact often in the form of hugs, holding the person’s hand, or rubbing his/her back, when welcomed by the senior, communicating reassurance to alleviate anxiety.
It’s also beneficial to ensure you have enough time for regular breaks to tend to your personal self-care needs and ease the stress that is commonly inherent in caring for a cherished older adult with Alzheimer’s disease. Generations at Home’s caregivers are highly trained and experienced in effective, compassionate dementia care, and are here for you with as much or as little respite care as necessary. Call us at 727-940-3414 for additional helpful resources and to schedule a free in-home consultation for more information about how we can assist throughout the St. Petersburg, FL area.