Nov 15, 2015 - 07:02 PM
Jun 01, 2016 - 01:28 PM
Luckily we were assigned a dementia nurse who began to visit my Dad regularly. She taught us three things which dramatically reduced my Dad's agitation; from experiencing it everyday to only experiencing it a few days each month.
1. Agitation can be a form of communication: Note down things going on around my Dad when he starts to get agitated. For example fast-paced tv programmes. Bright lights. Loud voices. Using a radio. Also note down things happening at the time he seemed calmer eg watching simple childrens tv programmes, wearing a hat, subtitles, getting shaved, listening to classical music. This way we compiled a list of things we should and shouldn't do in order to lessen the agitation.
2. Agitation is a symptom of something: Sudden agitation usually signals an infection. Couple this with a few additional signs or changes to his behaviour eg a change in his temperature, suddenly being awake / asleep all the time, suddenly refusing to eat & drink, feeling discomfort and this definitely meant he had an infection (usually a urine infection in my Dad's case). This meant we knew it was time to call in a doctor to get him treated.
3. Respect at all times: This means we never tell my Dad to stop doing something eg "Don't pull your catheter". Instead we'd give him something else to pull or fiddle with. We always listen to him carefully even if we can't make out what he's saying. We always tell him what we're going to do before we do it so he doesn't get scared. We always ask him first for example " Can I give you a wash?" and if he says no. He means no.
Tips. Getting the right antibiotics. If my Dad is still very agitated after finishing a course of antibiotics it means that he's still got an infection and I know that I have to get the doctor to prescribe a different antibiotic.
Ultimately we learnt that it wasn't my Dad that had to change but rather that we had the power to change the things that caused his agitation.
For me this year has been a very steep learning curve but it has also been an utter revelation. I hope that some of our experiences can help others in a similar position.