Challenging Behaviors for the Caregiver

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

"He never gives me a moment to myself. I can't even take a shower or use the bathroom anymore without him pounding on the door looking for me."

* Clinging behavior may be caused by an environment that is overwhelming for the person. If they are scared or confused, they will likely seek out and stay with a familiar reassuring caregiver. Reduce noise, activity or clutter.

* Provide the person with a substitute. Pets may provide a friendly distraction and be both a source and an object of affection. Try audiotapes of the caregiver in the kitchen or other familiar sounds.

* Other activities may divert the person. Provide them with a meaningful but repetitive job, magazines, or photo albums. Old, familiar songs may also give pleasure and reassurance.

* Reassure. Let the person know that you love them and you will not abandon them.

* Remember to schedule regular time away for yourself. Clinging behavior can be very stressful.

(c) copyright 1996

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