Caregiver Strategies to Avoid Frustration in Loved Ones

Caregiver Strategies to Avoid Frustration in Loved Ones

Caring for a loved one with a degenerative neurological disorder comes with unexpected challenges. One of these challenges comes as a result of the behavioral changes that come with disorders like Alzheimer’s and other related conditions. These changes arise because of the way these conditions impact different parts of the brain. As a result, your loved one may be more reactive to certain situations, becoming aggravated, angry, or frustrated. The most difficult thing about this is trying to understand what exactly triggered this negative emotion.

In this blog, ElderCare at Home wants to go over tips and strategies to help reduce or avoid negative emotions, like frustration and anger. These tips will involve some forethought and preparation, but the work you put in at the beginning can have beneficial consequences later on.
Follow these tips

(1) Create schedules: Routine is key. Create a schedule for your loved one and help them follow it. Unexpected events or unstructured time can sometimes frustrate people, and it is best to avoid situations that can trigger frustration. Also, track your loved one’s mood day by day, you may realize that they are happier or more energized at certain times of the day than at others. You can avoid negative emotions if you schedule times for outings during the hours when your loved one is most energized and happier.

(2) Do not express anger back: The best way to handle negative emotions is to remain calm and to allow your loved one to express what they might be feeling in the moment. Do not meet frustration with frustration. A calm demeanor can help you avoid escalating the situation.

(3) Modify Environments: One trigger that leads to negative emotions can be what is in your loved one’s surrounding environment, like poor lighting or loud noises. The challenge of avoiding this problem is that you may not be able to identify what is causing your loved one’s frustration. If your loved one is able to tell you, then finding the solution is easier. However, degenerative neurological disorders can affect speech and language, leading to communication difficulties. Common things to keep in mind are keeping rooms well-lit to avoid scary shadows, keeping noise levels down, and keep walking areas free from clutter.

(4) Distract: Sometimes you may not be able to calm down your loved one by any direct solutions. One strategy is to re-direct your loved one’s attention to something else, like asking them if they want to follow you into the kitchen to get a drink. Or, ask them what music they would like to have playing. These are ways to help get your loved one’s mind off the current situation and to calm them down. This, then, gives you more time to think about what you can do tell help avoid the situation in the future.

(5) Keep things simple: One of the ways that your loved one can become frustrated is the inability to accomplish more complicated tasks. Due to the nature of their medical condition, it is more difficult to complete tasks like before. At the same time, it is important to maintain your loved one’s independence. You can help them do this by keeping everyday tasks simple. For example, instead of your loved one going through their entire closet of clothes in order to choose something to wear, have just a few different options laid out for them. This helps avoid becoming overwhelmed with too many choices and keeps the task simple but still in your loved one’s control.

If you have any other questions about tips or strategies, then please call Elayne at (561) 254-4354 or email me at