When viewed through the lens of an unnerving hotel encounter, responding to the prospect of a shower with fear, resistance, and bewilderment seems downright normal.This basic understanding of behavior and its roots can be extraordinarily empowering for dementia care partners and can counteract initial inclinations to suppress, medicate, and sedate a person with drugs. More often than not, it’s a response to a person or a situation—and a communication that something is wrong.
It has had a powerful and positive impact on many individuals with dementia whose communications have been misunderstood.
I first came across this dynamic protocol long ago during the regular course of my consulting work and have since applied its principles in numerous care situations, becoming more adept at achieving transformative outcomes with time and practice. First, we gather information about the person: their cognitive level, life history, priorities, preferences, relationships, personality, etc.
Other adverse effects linked to inappropriate antipsychotic administration include heart attack, falls, and hospitalizations.
Clearly, there are many reasons providers should resist the urge to reach for the prescription pad at the first sign of a person with dementia’s negative behavior expression.
If we stop seeing adverse behavior as a rote symptom of dementia, and start instead asking questions to affirm its validity—“Could this be a normal response to the situation?