It’s hard to imagine anything more frustrating than not being able to think and perform at the level you’re accustomed to operating at. Compounding those feelings of frustration is the inability to come and go as you please and an increasing reliance on others, even for simple tasks like making a purchase, writing a check, or preparing a simple meal.
When you’re unable to resolve problems or do all that you once could do, it’s easy to become frustrated, annoyed, and disgusted with yourself. You may feel self-conscious and on guard, constantly fretting about silly mistakes and lapses in memory. Such feelings of frustration are common and understandable among people suffering from Alzheimer’s. It often isn’t until the person with Alzheimer’s comes to terms with his limitations that some of these frustrations abate. In some cases, the frustrations may never go away.
What the Caregiver Can Do
Caregivers can play a pivotal role in alleviating the frustration of a loved one with Alzheimer’s. For starters, you can try to let your loved one do as much as he can with as little assistance from you as possible. By giving your loved one some control over what he can do and not just focusing on what he can’t, you’ll boost his self-confidence and relieve some of his feelings of frustration.
Resist the urge to criticize the way your loved one does things and whether he’s doing them the way you think he should. As long as your loved one isn’t putting himself or anyone else in danger, there’s no reason to point out minor mistakes or less efficient ways of doing something. Setting standards above what he can do will only exacerbate his frustration.
Always give your loved one enough time to do what he needs to get done. Whether it’s choosing his wardrobe for the day, drinking a cup of coffee, or preparing for a bath, make sure he has ample time to do it, so you’re not rushing him and annoying him unnecessarily.
Restrict your loved one’s level of activity when he’s fatigued. Giving him too much to do when his energy levels are low will only serve to aggravate and annoy him. Try to recognize when he’s too tired, and urge him to attempt the activity when he feels more rested.
Creating the right environment can also help reduce frustration. Limit the amount of noise and activity in your loved one’s immediate surroundings. Avoid making radical changes in his living space as well as his routine. Try to stick to a consistent schedule, so he comes to know what to expect throughout his day. By making his days predictable and his environment constant, you’ll provide your loved one with the comforting routine and consistency he craves.