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| Management Strategies

The person you care for may be shadowing you because they are anxious and afraid. Try things to make them less anxious. Try asking them if they are feeling worried and if so, what it is that is bothering them. Ask them if they are worried about being left alone. Reassure them that they are not going to be abandoned.

Sometimes they can in fact be depressed which causes this insecurity.. Talk to your doctor about this.

Some people find it reassuring if they have pictures of you in each room or with them at all times.

Some people find it reassuring if they have a teddy bear, or doll, or like object to hold onto. This can apply both men and women.

Consider these questions: How long does the behavior last? At what time of the day does it occur? Is the behavior triggered by certain people or surroundings? Is there anything that calms them down? Examine your answers to the previous questions, as you may then be able to avoid the situations that bring about the anxiousness and introduce the activities that will be calming.

If the person with dementia is following you into the bathroom you may want to install a childproof doorknob. Another option is to use a timer and reassure the person by saying, "I'll be back when the timer goes off."

Find simple, repetitive activities to occupy them, even if you could complete the task much better on your own. Examples include: folding the laundry, dusting, stacking papers or magazines, stuffing envelopes, making photo albums or sweeping around the house. Not only will this give them a distraction, but it may help them feel needed and useful.

Avoid foods and drinks high in caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate or limit them to the morning hours to reduce agitation and nervousness.

Reducing the amount of noise, activity and clutter can be a great way to cope with clingy behaviour, which is often brought on by them being afraid or confused.

Provide the person with a substitute. Pets may provide a friendly distraction and be both a source and an object of affection. Try audiotapes of the person who is often shadowed in the kitchen or other familiar, comforting sounds. Old, familiar songs may also give them pleasure and reassurance.

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Last updated January 13, 2019
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