FlowersChallenging Behaviors for the Caregiver

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By Elisabeth A Hinman-Smith M.S.W. & Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.

"He gets so nervous and scared sometimes. It seems especially bad when he's someplace new. He even gets frightened when he can't see me, even though I'm in the next room. Sometimes he thinks someone is trying to break in."

* Reassure the person. Face him, using eye contact, a gentle touch or hug, and a calm and soothing voice.

* Try to determine what is precipitating this response in the person. Remember that nearly anything in the environment could be misconstrued as threatening.

* Try to avoid loud and confusing noises. Do not have the TV volume turned up loud. Sometimes TV shows scare people who cannot separate a TV situation from real life.

* Try to shop or run errands on "off" hours like first thing in the morning. Avoid malls on Saturday afternoons.

* Let the person know that you will be there to protect and look after them.

* Try to distract them with an activity they enjoy.

* Some people find it reassuring to have a cuddly stuffed animal or a security object like a purse or a favorite hat.

(c) copyright 1996


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