Challenging Behaviors for the Caregiver
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By Elisabeth A Hinman-Smith M.S.W. & Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.
"Sometimes she gets so angry. She never used to be that way - she was a gentle person. Now you never know what will set her off."
* Remove the person from the stressful situation or place. Simplify the environment by reducing extra clutter, people, noise, activity.
* Keep tabs on when the catastrophic reactions occurs. Is there a pattern (e.g., time of day, type of activity, specific person) that can be identified and altered?
* Distract the person with a calming or pleasurable activity. Try soft music, a walk outside, a favorite snack.
* Try to establish and stick to a regular daily routine that includes more stressful activities when the person is better rested. (e.g. Plan baths for morning if person tends to be tired and irritable at night .
* Encourage daily exercise to reduce excess stress and energy.
* Do not try to reason with the person. The impaired person's ability to reason logically is impaired - you may only make things worse. If you feel threatened, remove sharp or dangerous objects from the area and stay out of reach.
* Try to calm them with slow movements or gentle touches. Approach the person from the front and use a soothing, reassuring voice.
* Limit choices and state directions clearly. Offer activities that the person is able to do and watch for frustration levels.
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