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How to Handle Difficult Situations

Caregivers Must Handle Difficult Situations Often Involving Physical and Emotional Demands at the same time

Physical and Emotional Demands Equally Difficult

     Many caregivers must handle the difficult situation of having a family member with a physical illness complicated by an emotional reaction that interferes with their care—think of the Alzheimer’s patient who has a heart attack, for instance.  Often, the sick will lash out at their caregiver; sometimes, they even become aggressive.  Sometimes the family member is aware of what they are doing; other times, the behavior is a product of their illness or medication. Therefore, not only do you need to know how to care for your family member’s physical needs, but you must know how to handle difficult emotional situations, too.

Mental Health Challenges

     Some family members have a mental health diagnosis that comes with symptoms that create challenges for the caregiver. Family members who have mental health or memory disorders exhibit a variety of symptoms. Knowing how to handle the emotional outbursts and changes in personality can be confusing and frightening for caregivers. 

     For example:

  • Is it best to go along with the hallucination or point out that what they see is not real?
  • How does a caregiver convince his wife that she is not in danger when she does not recognize him and thinks he is an intruder about to attack her?
Try Multiple Options

   The information provided throughout the “How to Handle Difficult Situations” section provides guidelines and suggestions on what might work in emotional situations; however, keep in mind that every person and every environment is different.   Try a variety of techniques to find what works best for your situation.

Every Situation is Different   

     If you’re in the middle of handling a difficult situation that’s not going well, talk to someone about what is happening. Sometimes there is a medical reason for the behavior change; other times, a fresh perspective can help you see things differently. Regardless, letting someone know what is happening helps prevent you from feeling alone and reduces your burden.

As a caregiver, it is often hard to know how to handle difficult situations such as depression in a loved one.
As a caregiver, it is often hard to know how to handle difficult situations such as depression in a loved one.
Knowing how to deal with difficult situations like the anger that is sometimes displayed when someone with Alzheimer's becomes agitated can help caregivers not feel as helpless.
Knowing how to deal with difficult situations like the anger that is sometimes displayed when someone with Alzheimer's becomes agitated can help caregivers not feel as helpless.

Topics Shared Include:

Anger and Aggression……………….volatile outbursts and agitation

Hallucinations ………………………….seeing things not there

Delusions…………………………. believing in things that are not true

Depression ……………………………….extreme sadness and despair

Suicidal Thoughts …………………….death seems a welcome escape

Sundowning ………………………...confusion as evening approaches