When I first began my work in dementia care, the philosophy of care and approach centered on “Reality Orientation”. Fortunately today, we not only have a better understanding of the disease process; but have become better acquainted with interpreting moods and behavioral interventions in order to respond better to our clients.
The philosophies of “Habilitation” and “Validation” therapies have done tremendous service for the dementia client, particularly in regard to the individual’s need to preserve “personhood”. Family and professional caregivers continue to require understanding that the dementia client has little or no control over verbal and physical behaviors.
To assist care providers, we must provide skills to manage behaviors for those who are experiencing a different reality, related to their memory loss. Key to good behavior management for the dementia client is for the care provider to, “get into their clients reality”, in order to redirect behaviors to a more positive response. This is achieved through observation of verbal and nonverbal clues to the individual’s behavior.
For instance, a client living within the home exhibits increased pacing, and is looking to go home. Understanding the client’s view of reality would determine that in fact, the client was looking for his childhood home. In order to determine successful redirection strategies, would include a good social history, understanding behavior triggers and appropriate environmental cues.
Recommended redirection approaches include:
1. Agreement: attempts to change the clients reality generally result with increased frustration, anxiety and even aggression.
2. Redirection: due to the client’s short attention span, behaviors can be easily redirected to a new activity.
3. Environment: Having an understanding that our clients are sensitive to environmental stimulation such as noise, clutter and lighting.
4. Task completion: we can reduce behavioral episodes by simplifying tasks to complete, such as dressing and answering questions.
Caring Resources is committed to providing caregivers with the necessary skills and resources to enable them to provide exceptional care to their clients. Our training and educational modules are geared to professionals working in both community-based and residential care settings. For more information regarding our training modules contact a representative today.