Why People with Alzheimer’s Start Shadowing Caregivers

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Alzheimer’s Care

During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, many aging adults begin shadowing their loved ones. For caregivers, this may be unsettling behaviour, as it often persists for very long stretches of time. With shadowing, people with Alzheimer’s mimic nearly everything their caregivers say and do. Here are a few possible reasons for this behaviour. 

Living with a Pervasive Sense of Fear 

The primary cause of shadowing is fear. Seniors with Alzheimer’s experience a near-constant sense of disconnection from the world around them. They may not know where they are, why they’re there, or what they should do. Being able to mirror the actions and words of people they trust tends to calm them down, although it may have the opposite effect on their caregivers. 

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but compassionate help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to InCasa Home Care Services, a leading provider of elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Recognizing Caregivers Have Their Best Interests at Heart 

Family caregivers are often in full control of their senior loved ones’ eating habits and daily routines. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty connecting with their present realities and are often aware of their growing dependency on their caregivers. In addition to the fear caused by feelings of disconnection, people with Alzheimer’s also have the fear of becoming separated from their caregivers. Constantly watching and mirroring their caregivers is a way for seniors to keep these individuals close. 

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Edmonton, AB, senior home care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a professional caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.

Shadowing & Sundowning 

Sundowning, or late-day confusion, is another sign of late-stage Alzheimer’s. It can lead to several behavioural issues right before bedtime, such as outbursts, refusal to participate in regular and essential activities, agitation, and suspicion. Shadowing and sundowning are similar in that seniors are most likely to begin shadowing their caregivers in the afternoon and throughout the evening hours. Because these two behaviours indicate cognitive decline, they frequently appear together. For instance, after any significant sundowning event, you may wake to find your aging relative standing over you and watching you while you sleep. Moreover, much like seniors rarely remember sundowning-related outbursts the next morning, your loved one may not remember shadowing you at all after the evening hours have passed. 

Accommodating Shadowing by Alleviating the Underlying Fear 

No matter how disconcerting shadowing may be, it’s important to remember its primary motivators are anxiety and fear. You may be able to limit these occurrences and their intensity by speaking positive affirmations in a calm and soothing voice. For instance, telling your loved one everything is all right and that you have no intention of leaving him or her may make shadowing subside. You should also determine which words, activities, and actions tend to heighten your loved one’s fear, whether it’s changing the living environment, inviting new people into the environment, or temporarily altering his or her schedule. Any changes that make seniors feel more vulnerable during the later stages of Alzheimer’s may trigger shadowing.

Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality home care. Edmonton families can rely on the caregivers at InCasa Home Care Services to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while promoting cognitive health. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at 587-609-6854 today.

Related Posts