Caregiving Monday: Dealing with Trauma

The love of family can make a difference
The love of family can make a difference



Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and there are times when traumatic moments and horrific memories return to traumatize the patient.

So what are some ways to calm the patient?

Music has a healing power
Music has a healing power


  1. Redirect the patient and see if you can get their mind on something else
  2. Allow the patient to speak about the incident—some need to express their feelings and what was experienced in a safe and loving environment. Never judge or push for information, but allow the patient to share what s/he is comfortable with.
  3. Music—sing a song or hymn that is comforting to the patient. If you can’t sing, put on some soothing music, whether it is a collection of hymns or instrumental {especially piano} music.
  4. Pray—if the patient is a praying person, ask them to pray or if you can pray with them. I have seen amazing changes happen with prayer in a person with Alzheimer’s.

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes things
  5. Love—sometimes the patient just needs to feel loved and safe
  6. Touch—the power of touch is powerful. Often a hand on the shoulder or a pat of the hand does amazing wonders in soothing a patient that is troubled.  This is a comforting act to him/her.
  7. Family—sometimes seeing a familiar face is all that is needed. I have seen Alzheimer’s patient’s entire demeanor change when they are able to see a spouse, child or grandchild.  This brings comfort and assures the patient that s/he is not alone and not forgotten.

What has worked for you in dealing with traumatic situations in an Alzheimer’s patient?

Caregiving Monday: It’s Not Personal

When dealing with Dementia/Alzheimer’s patients we get a variety of responses.

One moment the resident may be the sweetest and calmest person, and a moment later s/he may be cussing you out.

This is not personal.  This is not a personal attack on the second party in any way.missing puzzle

The important thing to remember is this is the disease.

So how do you respond?

  • First and foremost, with love—stay calm and answer in a calm, loving manner
  • Step away if the stress of the moment becomes too much
  • Do not take it personally
  • Observe the environment—is there something that may be setting the individual off? Knowing the person really helps to understand the triggers.  Does noise irritate the person, was there a bad night, is there a person that sets the person off, etc.
  • Soothe the individual. I have found that music is always a wonderful healer, but sometimes you have to try different techniques to find the right one for that individual
  • Check with your physician to discuss medications and the effects on the resident
  • Take away any triggers—if possible

Above all, remember this is the frustration and disease speaking and not your loved one.

How do you deal with outbursts?

Caregiving Monday: When a Loved One Declines

Seeing a loved one decline is always difficult, but especially when there is a significant decline in a short time.

This realization is often difficult for family members to accept.

Questions begin to be asked such as:

  • Why did we not realize?end of life
  • How did this happen?
  • What do we do now?
  • What could we have done differently?


So how do we deal with a dramatic decline in a loved one?

  1. Accept that this is the new reality—that is much easier said than done, but things are not going back to where they used to ends
  2. Ask for prayer from family and friends. Asking for prayer never hurts, but also think carefully before placing information on social media sites.
  3. Understand that only God knows the day, time and hour a loved one is called home. That could be on that day, a month later, a year later or twenty years later.  God will provide the comfort and strength necessary to walk the journey He’s taken you on.
  4. Take the necessary steps to make the loved one as comfortable and well cared for as possible.
  5. Bathe the situation in prayer. Every situation is different and sometimes the situation is drawn out, while at other times decisions have to be made quickly. God can provide the guidance, wisdom and comfort that is needed during this time.
  6. Contact the necessary friends and family members that need to be notified. Even if death is not imminent, they may want to visit and enjoy the time they have together.
  7. Discuss the possibilities for the worst case now, instead of having to make split second decisions later on. Determine what the person being cared for wants and his/her wishes for the last stages of life, as well as funeral plans.

What plans have you made for the future?