How to Manage Confusion in Alzheimer’s Home Care

December 13, 2017 | BY PHS Staff

Moments of confusion are a fact of life when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. As Alzheimer’s progresses, these moments become more frequent and more severe. So, it’s important that caregivers who provide Alzheimer’s home care know how to manage moments of confusion and disorientation.

Alzheimer’s home care

Unfortunately, most people don’t naturally know how to respond to someone with Alzheimer’s when they are confused. That’s because the best strategies for managing confusion related to Alzheimer’s are often not intuitive.

For instance: if someone with Alzheimer’s says something that we know to be untrue, our instinct is to correct them. But in most situations, that only causes more confusion. Worse yet, it may be deeply upsetting for the person with Alzheimer’s. Many caregivers have to actively rewire their instincts to avoid causing undue distress in these moments.

That can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. So, if you provide Alzheimer’s home care for a loved one, here are some quick tips on better ways to manage confusion.

Responding to Alzheimer’s-Related Confusion

In Alzheimer’s home care, managing confusion requires a great deal of empathy. It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the person with Alzheimer’s to understand how the moment feels from their perspective. That can make it easier to respond in a positive and healthy way.

This can also help you manage different types of confusion. Let’s say, for example, your loved one mistakenly believes they are somewhere they are not. Even though they’re mistaken, they feel confident in their surroundings. Not only is it confusing to be told that they’re actually somewhere else, it undermines their sense of comfort and security. They need affirmation, not correction.

On the other hand, if your loved one is disoriented and agitated because they don’t understand where they are, then they don’t need affirmation — they need reassurance. That means making them feel safe and secure, without making them feel devalued for their confusion.

In addition to empathy, caregivers who provide Alzheimer’s home care should develop strategies that make these moments easier to manage. Here are some of the most effective approaches used by Alzheimer’s home care professionals at Preferred HealthStaff:

  • Train yourself to respond in a calm and measured manner. This way, you’ll minimize the risk of hurting, agitating, or further confusing your loved one.
  • When your loved one is mistaken about something, try to speak with them as if what they are saying is true (unless it may be dangerous or harmful to do so).
  • If you need to correct your loved one, try to soften the correction. Use phrases like “I think” or “I believe” to suggest that things are different than they seem at the moment.
  • When your loved one is becoming confused or disoriented, try to reduce external stimuli. For example, lower the volume of music or turn off the TV.
  • Use routine and familiar surroundings to help your loved one feel secure and oriented.

If you are having trouble managing moments of confusion, you might also wish to consider professional Alzheimer’s home care services. Many family caregivers benefit from the support provided by professional caregivers, whose experience and training often prove invaluable during moments of Alzheimer’s-related confusion.

Preferred HealthStaff offers Alzheimer’s home care consultations to families in south-central Pennsylvania and West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. To schedule a free in-home consultation for your loved one, call us today at (866) 943-9791.