Coronation St Alzheimer's story line & real life Tips
May 11, 2012
The current Alzheimer’s storyline in‘Coronation Street’ - which has shown friends and family trying to deal with the character, Lesley’s alternating behaviours due to Alzheimer’s Disease – has come to a rather unfortunate conclusion (for Lesley) this week!
On a serious note, there are a number of steps that can be taken to diffuse angry and aggressive behaviour in people with Alzheimer’s, according to Liam Toland who owns and runs our Home Instead Senior Care Limerick office.
“The first thing to recognise is that anger and aggressive behaviour are forms of communication,” says Liam. “The person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia may not be able to tell us what they want or need and aggression and displays of anger are how they release their frustration and emotion.”
He explains that there are ways to diffuse this behaviour:
1. Take a break – say “Mum/Dad, sorry I misunderstood what you wanted for breakfast – I’ll be back in a few minutes to check in with you.” Take 5 or 10 minutes out and come back then;
2. Look for triggers e.g.some people with Dementia get very tired in the afternoon and may get angry if you try to engage them in activities. Line up more activities in the morning and give them a break in the afternoon;
3. Watch for pain or illness – if a happy-go-lucky person is suddenly moody and angry, that is usually a good sign that it’s a physical health issue;
4. Bring up a favourite subject from the person’s life story – talk about their childhood, favourite foods etc – this can sometimes change a bad mood into a good one;
5. Apologising is tough –especially if it isn’t your fault – but it’s sometimes the best response to anger! “Mum/Dad, I’m so sorry I misunderstood you. I’ll do better next time” – can turn anger into a smile.
Liam advises people who are concerned to talk to their GP or Public Health Nurse or to a relevant health professional. Further tips for families living with Alzheimer’s can be found at www.HelpForAlzheimersFamilies.com