General Principles of Caregiving
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1. Provide SECURITY -emphasize strengths, not deficits -break tasks into small steps
2. Provide SERENITY -maintain a calm environment -eliminate distractions and outside stimuli -maintain constant routine
3. Provide SUPPORT -assist a person in an activity versus doing it completely.
Principles of Behavior Management
1. PROMOTE PATIENT/FAMILY SECURITY. Familiar routines, rituals, and consistent repetition of anxiously-repeated questions enhances security.
2. CELEBRATE REMAINING CAPACITY. Provide opportunities for moments of fun, fantasy, silliness or togetherness, even if they are quickly forgotten.
3. SUBSTITUTE FOR LOST ADULT ABILITY. Do for, rather than just "with", if a functional capacity is lost. Some Alzheimer's patients are realistically more dependent.
4. COMPENSATE FOR LOSS OF IMPULSE CONTROL. Head off, distract or divert a patient who is about to remove clothes, urinate or masturbate in a public place.
5. PREVENT EXPOSURE TO TRIGGERING INCIDENTS OR SETTINGS. If a patient's catastrophic reactions are triggered by large crowds or noisy places, avoid including him or her in these outings.
6. BUILD SELF-ESTEEM BY RESTORING PRODUCTIVE ROLES. Most patient's prefer to "help" rather than accept help from strangers. Find ways to include the patient in familiar household tasks.
7. MODEL HELPFUL APPROACHES FOR VISITORS. Show respect for the patient's adult feelings, without judging his or her behavior. Let forgetting work for you rather than setting up "no-win" or "yes-no" battles. Help the patient re-label feelings in less threatening ways. Your actions often speak louder than words.
Lisa Gwyther, ACSW
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