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[Infographic] Living with the Repetitive Symptoms of Dementia


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To recognize World Alzheimer's Awareness Month in September, we have created a highly visual infographic that captures the nature of repetitive symptoms and their impact on the lives of people living with dementia. Repetitive symptoms are often misunderstood and create frustration and exhaustion for clients and their family/professional caregivers. It is important to remember that people with dementia cannot control their symptoms. The good news is that there are effective tools and approaches that can improve our understanding and response to repetitive symptoms. Read on to learn about the common triggers for repetitive symptoms and how they can be managed. We hope that this infographic provides innovative, practical approaches that improve quality of life for all involved in dementia care and support.

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[Infographic] Living with the Repetitive Symptoms of Dementia

  1. 1. Learn how to respond: Repeating the same question, story or statement over and over I want to go home. I want to go home. Where is my purse? Where is my purse? Where is my purse? What time is it?What time is it? TAPPING FEET BANGING RUBBING HANDS RUMMAGINGRUMMAGING It is important to surround yourself with people who understand dementia. Your support team can include a: • Support Group • Primary Doctor/Nurse Practitioner • Dementia Specialist: Neurologist, Geriatrician or Geriatric Psychiatrist • Geriatric Care Manager or Social Worker • Rehab Professionals (PT/OT/Speech) • Home Care • Adult Day Care • Develop a daily routine that honors a person’s past routine, hobbies & preferences • Remove the person from stressful situations • Respond to emotions • Divert attention to positive, familiar, repetitive activities • Offer reassurance • Communicate effectively - make eye contact, use gestures, and use short simple phrases • When starting a new medicine, people with dementia should be monitored closely for benefits and side effects. • Side effects - if they occur - often happen quickly. Benefits can take time to notice with some medicines. • Response to medicine can vary from person to person. • It is important to work with your healthcare team to develop the best treatment plan for you or the person you care about. To learn more about medicines that can help, visit: For more communication tips, visit: Support group search tools: • DEMENTIA-SPECIFIC MEDICINES • ANTIPSYCHOTICS • ANTI-ANXIETY • ANTI-CONVULSANTS • ANTIDEPRESSANTS © 2013 Griswold International, LLC brought to you by: © 2013 Griswold International, LLC © 2013 Griswold International, LLC© 2013 Griswold International, LLC Infographic design by Joe Carr and Mike Haldeman The Many Forms of Dementia Managing Repetitive Symptoms IRREVERSIBLE CREATE YOUR PLAN TYPES OF MEDICATION GET SUPPORT Common Triggers for Challenging Symptoms Managing Symptoms With Medicine MEMORY THINKING ATTENTION/ CONCENTRATION JUDGEMENT LANGUAGE PERCEPTION REASONING Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms that can include changes in: LANGUAGE PERCEPTIONPERCEPTIONPERCEPTION …and must be severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function. n Alzheimer’s Disease n Vascular Dementia n Lewy Body Dementia n Parkinson’s Disease n Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease aka Mad Cow Disease n Down Syndrome n Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) n Huntington’s Disease n Early Onset Dementia n Mixed Dementia n Korsakoff Syndrome n AIDS Dementia Complex n Dementia Pugilistica n Medication Side Effects n Depression n Infection n Low Levels of Vitamin B-12 n Brain Tumors* n Head or Brain Injury/Trauma* n Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus* (excess fluid on the brain) n Posterior Cortical Atrophy, aka Benson’s Syndrome* (cell loss in back area of brain) *Not Always Reversible REVERSIBLE Reversible dementia can improve over time and/or with treatment. Examples include: Irreversible dementia will progress over time and there is no cure. Examples include: COMMON TRIGGERS CHECKLIST: PEOPLE OR ACTIONS THAT FRIGHTEN, ANNOY, THREATEN OR CAUSE PAIN PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT THAT CAUSES DISCOMFORT (HOT, COLD, NOISY, THREATENING) TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE GOING ON CLIENT DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING UNMET PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL NEEDS (CLOTHES DON’T FIT, VISION/HEARING CHALLENGES) MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS IDENTIFY TRIGGERS THINGS TO KNOW Remember -- Repetitive symptoms can be frustrating for the person with dementia and their family caregivers. It is important to be empathetic and flexible. As speech becomes more difficult, symptoms are often the only way that a person with dementia can communicate. REASONING The following checklist can help you notice and respond to common triggers