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Changing dementia behavior to have more peace

Uncategorized Dec 28, 2020

Is your loved one doing something that drives you crazy or that you wish would change? Have all of your attempts to change them failed? No matter what you’ve tried it hasn’t seemed to help? Today I’m going to share something to help you feel less stressed and frustrated when nothing you’ve tried to help your loved one’s behavior seems to be working By listening to this strategy, practicing it, and applying it to your life, you are going to feel much better no matter what your loved one is doing.


My name is Natali Edmonds. I’m a board certified geropsychologist and the information and strategies I share on this channel have helped thousands of people caring for a loved one with dementia. I hope it helps you too. Be sure to hit the red subscribe button on your screen to help increase the chances that other caregivers can find this channel. 

If you would rather watch a video on this topic, click here

Alright, so let’s say your loved one is doing something that you find incredibly frustrating. Perhaps they repeat themselves over and over, they follow you around everywhere, they accuse you of things that aren’t true...and let’s say you’ve tried everything to help reduce that behavior and nothing has worked, what can you do? 


In these situations, you want to change your expectations and response. So the GOAL IS NOT ON CHANGING THEIR BEHAVIOR (You’ve already tried that without success), THE GOAL IS ON CHANGING YOUR RESPONSE. 


Stick with me here because I’m going to share the secret about using this approach in a minute. BUT, when you change your expectation and you change your response, it turns the focus off of them (which has been frustrating you) and it turns it on you (something you have total control of). 


When you expect that these challenges will occur, it’s not as surprising and upsetting. You can start to plan for it. For example, you just know that today you’re going to be accused of something you didn’t do. Can any of you relate to that? 


1), you expect it- that way it’s not a surprise when it happens. There is something to be said for just knowing and expecting the challenge to be coming. 

2) You prepare ahead of time, how do I want to respond? 

3) You practice ahead of time feeling what you want to feel in that situation. 


So, if we’ve taken the expectation away that we are going to change our loved ones through our actions, then you are focusing on yourself only. How do you want to feel? 


You probably don’t want to feel anger, resentful, frustration. I don’t know too many people who want to feel this way. So how do you want to feel? Perhaps you want to feel in control, or patient, or loving. 


What do you need to think to yourself in order to feel that way when your loved one does that behavior? 

So when your loved one accuses you of something that isn’t true. Keeping the focus on expected this to happen. It’s not a surprise. You are prepared for how you are going to respond (again, without the expectation that it’s going to change them), and then 3rd, you’ve practice ahead of time the feeling you want to feel after going through that situation. You want to practice feeling loving, patient, and understanding. 


So instead of I’m so sick and tired of these accusations it might be something like, “this is a really confusing disease.” or “It’s hard to be around this, but I’m committed to caring for my loved one.” 


Now, some of you may not like what you’re hearing in this video. Most of you just want the behavior of change. But here’s the beauty of it all and the secret I was alluding focusing on yourself and on how you respond rather than all your attention and energy on your loved one, you just might find your loved one starts to change. 


I’m challenging you to give this a try Careblazer. I am willing to bet that you’ve struggled with getting your loved one to change a behavior. And I’m willing to bet that asking them to change hasn’t worked. So be open to creative approaches. Are you willing to give this a try? If so, let me know by giving a thumbs up and if you aren’t willing to try this, let me know by giving a thumbs down. 


I’ll be back next week with another topic. In the meantime, don’t forget to download your free Careblazer survival guide here. I hope you’ll take advantage of my mini booster series to help set you up for success in the new year. To access the course, click here


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