If you're a caregiver of a loved one who just entered stage 6 dementia, you may find it increasingly difficult to redirect your elderly parent when they become agitated, angry, or confused. People in stage 6 experience advanced memory loss, confusion, and personality changes that not only affect their lives, but the lives of everyone around them, including caregivers. Here's more information about stage 6 dementia and things you can do to redirect your loved one's negative behavior.
How Does Stage 6 Dementia Affect Your Loved One?
Dementia occurs in seven stages, with stage 1 and 2 being the least life-changing for people. By the time your loved one reaches stage 3, they're already exhibiting small changes that affect how they think, react, and behave. The changes gradually begin to take a toll on your loved one during stages 4 and 5. However, the most significant changes occur during stage 6, which is the middle stage of the disease. Individuals in stage 6 show significant declines in their cognitive, personal, and physical abilities, including how they behave in situations.
One of the things you may experience when you provide care for your elderly loved one is redirecting them away from a potentially negative situation to a more positive one. Because stage 6 interferes with your loved one's ability to rationalize with other people or use good judgment, you may have a harder time getting them to refocus their thoughts and behaviors. If you use the wrong tone of voice, words, or body language, you may cause more harm than good.
For instance, some dementia patients remove their clothing or make inappropriate sexual advances to other people. If you try to stop the behavior by scolding your elderly parent, they might strike out at you or exhibit other types of negative behavior.
It's important to understand that you can redirect your parent from a bad situation with the right tips.
How Can You Redirect Your Loved One?
The most critical thing you can do to change your loved one's negative behavior is to change how you address it. Instead using a loud, harsh voice when addressing your loved one, speak softly and keep the tone of your voice low. Dementia patients can become easily frightened or agitated if they feel threatened.
If your elderly parent tends to wander out of the home, place a black floor mat in front of the doors instead of blocking them with chairs or tables. Your loved one may perceive the mats as holes, cliffs, or something else they can fall into. It may prevent them from trying to leave the home. You can also place "stop" signs or "do not enter" signs on the doors and windows to help redirect your loved one's need to leave the home.
If you still find it difficult to redirect your loved one, contact a memory care specialist for advice. Your elderly parent may need additional care at this stage of their dementia.