This morning, you decided that a quick trip to the grocery store would be the perfect thing to get you and your elderly loved one out of the house and active.
The two of you are walking down aisle five of your newly-renovated neighborhood grocery store, when, without warning, your shopping companion releases a profanity-laced tirade foul enough to make you want to crawl underneath the shopping cart and pretend to be invisible.
Since that's not an option, what do you do? How do handle a dementia outburst?
Tips on How to Handle a Dementia Outburst
- Keep your cool. Remaining calm is the key to handling this type of situation properly. A level-headed approach will allow you to think more rationally and, oftentimes, your serene attitude can rub off on the person with dementia.
- "Move along, there's nothing to see here." If you're in a public place, try to draw onlooker's attention away from the person who is making a scene—explaining, if you can, that the person has dementia.
- Perform a search and rescue. Try and figure out what may have ignited the outburst. If you are able to isolate the root cause of an outburst it will help you prevent another episode. Also, try to distract the person with dementia, drawing them away from the source of their frustration, giving them a simpler task that will engage them and bestow a sense of accomplishment once they complete it.
- Remember, it's not them, it's the disease. A person with dementia faces a crippling amount of confusion and frustration that can manifest in unseemly outbursts. At times it may be difficult, but trying to maintain this perspective will help you cope with inappropriate behavior.