FlowersChallenging Behaviors for the Caregiver

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

"My husband was always a polite Christian person. . .always considerate of others. Now he swears like a sailor. I find it so offensive. Before his illness he'd never dream of using such words."

* The person may forget the social skills of a lifetime or respond on impulse. As a result, they may resort to the use of profanity or obscenity, especially when they are upset or agitated. Remember that the person is not deliberately trying to upset you, but is affected by the disease that compromises their behavior and impulse control.

* Try to remain calm. You can try to correct the use of profanity by gently requesting the person refrain from using it. If that does not work, try to ignore it. If the person receives no reinforcement for such behavior, they may stop in time.

* Explain to those present (grandchildren, friends, etc.) that the person has an illness which may cause the person to use words that they might find unacceptable or uncomfortable.

* If the situation becomes pronounced, distract the person with a different topic or activity and if necessary, remove them from the situation.

(c) copyright 1996


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