Sometimes an elderly family member who has Alzheimer’s disease will throw some false accusations your way that seem out of the blue. She might claim that you have stolen a favorite item or that you’re keeping her locked up like a prisoner. These accusations can shock you and even make you feel terrible, but there’s usually something else going on.
Accusations Can Be about Control
These types of accusations can be really upsetting, both for you and for your aging family member. At their core, these types of utterances can be about control. Your senior knows on some level that she doesn’t have the same control over life that she once did and this can leave her feeling at loose ends. She also sometimes genuinely doesn’t remember where she put certain items and that can be embarrassing. One way to express how she’s feeling is to make accusations of others.
Empathize with Her
The best first response is to empathize with your senior. In her mind, these accusations are accurate. When you empathize with her, you’re on her side and you’re reassuring her that you’re going to help her to solve that problem. Sometimes this is as simple as telling her that you’re sorry that she’s having this experience. You might even find that the empathetic response is enough to calm her.
Give Her an Option
If possible, give your senior some options. Let her know that you’ll help her look for the missing item or that you’ll take care of it for her. Sometimes in the case of “stolen” items, what’s really happened is that your elderly family member has misplaced the item. It can help if you’ve got backups or spares of those items that you can magically find for her until you find the first one.
Distractions can be incredibly helpful in these sorts of situations. If you can already tell that there’s something your senior needs, take care of that need for her. Once you’ve assessed her needs and met what you can, your elderly family member might simply need a little bit of your attention or a favorite activity to help her to recover from whatever caused her distress.
If you’re having a difficult time managing accusations from your senior, it might be time to get some extra help. Senior care providers can show you how to work through and around some of these accusations to help your elderly family member to feel more secure. As she starts to feel more secure these types of situations can become less frequent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 434-8000. Ft. Myers: (239) 939-1228.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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