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Effective Interventions with Dementia and Difficult Behaviors
On this track, we will discuss Positive Interaction Techniques which can be used by the caregiver of an elderly person with Alzheimer’s. Included on this track are four basic rules for positive interactions. The four basic rules for positive interactions discussed on this track are stay pleasant, calm, and reassuring, help maintain self-esteem, use simple sentences, and use nonverbal clues.
I have found that positive interaction techniques are productive in helping an elderly person with Alzheimer’s understand what is being communicated. Would you agree that as a patient loses the ability to communicate with words, he or she may still understand nonverbal cues?
4 Positive Interaction Techniques
Technique #1 - Stay Pleasant, Calm, and Reassuring
Howard had the most trouble with nouns and adjectives. Specific names and descriptive words eluded him. When Jeff was helping him dress, Howard would try to tell Jeff that he wanted to put on his brown shirt, but he would lose the words. Or, Howard would use the word ‘bath’ to fill in the blank for a word he could not say. For example, Howard might state, "I want to put on my brown bath." Howard knew that he wasn’t communicating clearly, but he did not know why. After gesturing at his torso, Howard had to wait for Jeff to understand.
Instead of showing his frustration or despair, Jeff would stay pleasant, calm, and reassuring. Jeff stated, "It’s really hard to deal with my father sometimes. But I just try to relax and treat him like I would want to be treated. You know, that golden rule thing." Could the caregiver of the client you are treating benefit from receiving these reminders to stay pleasant, calm, and reassuring? Perhaps you could play this track for him or her.
Technique #2 - Use Simple Sentences
Technique #3 - Help Maintain Self-Esteem
Jeff would simply get the appropriate clothes for Howard and state, "You always look great in this, Dad." Jeff would make sure Howard was looking right at him. Howard saw the warm facial expression and smile. Howard also heard Jeff’s calm voice. By helping Howard maintain self-esteem, Jeff was engaging in a positive interaction instead of the more negative reaction which may feel more natural to the caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s.
Technique #4 - Use Nonverbal Clues
On this track we discussed positive interaction techniques which can be used by the caregiver of an elderly person with Alzheimer’s. Included on this track are four basic rules for positive interactions. The four basic rules for positive interactions discussed on this track are stay pleasant, calm, and reassuring, help maintain self-esteem, use simple sentences, and use nonverbal clues.
On the next two tracks we will discuss managing difficult behaviors. The next track will focus on analyzing behavior. In order for the caregiver to continue with an ongoing assessment of the patient’s Alzheimer’s and associated behavior, I have found five steps which may be useful when analyzing behavior. These five steps regarding analyzing behavior are deciding if the behavior is a problem, what the problem really is, with whom the problem occurs, where the problem occurs, and when the problem occurs.
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