I am guessing there are few of us who enjoy being startled. I recently had the unenjoyable experience of having a teenager hide behind a piece of furniture, wait upon my arrival, and then jump out and startle me. Let me just explain that I was not happy. I do not like to be frightened in any way.
Yesterday I watched a caregiver approach a wheelchair bound man, who was sound asleep, from behind. She grabbed the wheelchair and began moving this man. He instantly was awakened, and it was obvious he was startled. Being the good Dementia Specialist, I wanted to sneak up behind the caregiver and startle her! Fortunately, common sense prevailed. I held myself back, and I didn’t say a word. Then she did the same thing to another resident. UGH! I wanted to scream.
Don’t do this to your loved one. It really doesn’t matter if they have dementia, or not. Do not approach them from behind. As we age normally, we experience a decrease in our peripheral vision. Dementia causes this process to accelerate. It is very important, therefore, to approach from the front, announce your presence, and ask permission to proceed with whatever task you are hoping to accomplish.