As the body begins to age, mental faculties can begin to wane. Many older individuals suffer from dementia, a condition which can affect an individual's ability to recall short-term memories. Dementia can make care management challenging, but there are some simple techniques that can be used to help ease the transition into a care facility for those who suffer from memory loss.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) provides care takers with the opportunity to implement environmental changes that will result in positive behavioral changes. Here are three ways to utilize ABA services to help make the lives of dementia patients in your care facility easier in the future.
1. Use shadow boxes instead of room numbers.
Short-term memory is often more affected by dementia than long-term memory, which can make the processing of new information challenging. Patients who move into a care facility can have a difficult time remembering their assigned room number.
This can cause feelings of disorientation that lead to negative behavioral outbursts. Rather than using room numbers that can potentially confuse your dementia patients, put personalized shadow boxes on their doors instead. Patients will be able to recognize photos of their loved ones and cherished mementos, allowing them to more easily find their rooms after moving into a care facility.
2. Train staff to recognize antecedents.
When it comes to managing the behavior of dementia patients in your care facility, it can be beneficial to train your staff members in basic ABA techniques. One of the most important techniques used by behavioral analysts is the recognition of certain triggers that can produce an undesirable behavior.
These triggers are known as antecedents. Every dementia patient moving into your facility will have a set of triggers that will contribute to unmanageable behavior. When your staff members are able to recognize and eliminate these antecedents, it's possible to better manage the behavior of dementia patients over time.
3. Maintain continuity with family members.
It's important that every individual who interacts with a dementia patient utilizes the same type of care techniques in order to produce the right kind of behaviors. Taking the time to create a behavior intervention plan with staff and family members will help you create the continuity that dementia patients need to feel secure.
This security often leads to better behavior, which is a key principle of behavior analysis therapy.
Using applied behavior analysis to manage dementia patients can help make living in a care facility more pleasant for both patients and staff members in the future.
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