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Handling Difficult Situations:

When Mom Gets Out Of Hand

Patience and gentleness is required at all times when caring for an elderly person, especially if they have a chronic and progressive brain disorder. Many people with dementia have lost the ability to control their behavior, and you will be called upon to rise above any irrational outbursts.

Here are some general guidelines for dealing with difficult behavior:

1. Ensure everyone's safety

2. Call for help if needed

3. Threatening, shouting or using harsh language

4. Judging or giving unasked for advice

5. Take a deep breath and approach the situation calmly

6. Communicate your caring for the person in your tone and touch

7. Try to resolve whatever is upsetting the person

8. Use non-threatening body language

9. Move slowly and quietly

9. Avoid reasoning or arguing with the person

9. Offer suggestions rather tahn give orders

9. If possible, distract the person with a favorite activity

9. Remove the person from the situation if appropriate

Emotional barriers can block communication and prevent positive interaction. Avoid the following behaviors that just get in the way:

1. Acting impatient, irritated or annoyed

2. Ignoring person or acting bored

3. Threatening, shouting or using harsh language

4. Judging or giving unasked for advice

5. Arguing

6. Interrupting

7. Changing the subject

8. Being defensive

9. Belittling the person

Becoming defensive or angry pits us against the elderly person, and that is not fair. Showing the wrong kind of feelings, or not enough of the right kind, shows the person you don't really care. To avoid downward the spiral of returning anger for anger, we have to commit ourselves to face anger with love, dignity and respect.