March 2, 2024

Dear Manang,
My neighbor has serious issues with over thinking about his problems. He seems to also be paranoid because he tells me about the need to carry a switchblade or ice pick when he goes out to fend off attackers. He smokes a lot. It seems like that’s all he does. I have engaged in conversations with him, but I feel like what I say falls on deaf ears. But how can I help someone like that? Is there a language that is used for them?
Loy of Liteng, Pacdal, Baguio City

Dear Loy,
Here’s what a little research says about paranoid personality disorder for us to understand this behavior. “People with Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) often do not seek treatment on their own because they do not see themselves as having a problem. The distrust of others felt by people with PPD also poses a challenge for health care professionals because trust is an important factor of psychotherapy (a form of counseling). As a result, many people with PPD do not follow their treatment plan and may even question the motives of the therapist,” says Clevelandclinic.org. “The outlook for people with PPD varies. It is a chronic disorder, which means it tends to last throughout a person’s life. Although some people can function fairly well with PPD and are able to marry and hold jobs, others are completely disabled by the disorder. Because people with PPD tend to resist treatment, the prognosis often is poor,” they add.
So, my dear, stop worrying about it. Just be cool and kind when the opportunity is there.
Just be kind,
Manang

Dear Manang,
I am hurt every time I see my grandmother who has dementia. She doesn’t remember me anymore and she shouts at me to leave her room. I want so much to take care of her on my days off but when I see her, there are no kind words for me or anybody. I volunteer to bring her food to her room but even putting the food on the table and trying to assist her to sit in bed is already a test for patience. She pushes me away when I try to help her up on the bed. I don’t want to keep a memory of her like this. Is there someone who can share some of their practical experience with elderly care? Or should I instead just accept this scenario.
Ferzie of Outlook Drive, Baguio City

Dear Ferzie,
I am definitely not the guru of dementia but my little exposure to my grandmother and some other elders with dementia have given me some insights to this. In your specific experience of the anger and verbal abuse, here are some of the tips for those who want to understand physical discomfort, environmental factors and poor communication. If the person with Alzheimer’s is aggressive, consider what might be contributing to the change in behavior,” says alz.org. The response to this can include: 1. Try to indentify the immediate cause. Think about what happened right before the reaction that may have triggered the behavior, 2. Rule out pain as the cause of the behavior. Pain can trigger aggressive behavior for a person with dementia, 3. Don’t get upset. Be positive and reassuring. Speak slowly in a soft tone, and 4. Try a relaxing activity. Use music, massage, or exercise to help soothe the person.
There you go. Sometimes understanding the situation helps you more than your grandmother.
Manang