Dementia patients frequently display behavioral changes which is common in this group of older adults. The burden on caregivers and loved ones might be overwhelming when this occurs. When someone you know and love suddenly starts acting strangely or aggressively, it can be very upsetting. If you are caring for an aging loved one, learn more about behavioral changes which are one of the signs of dementia, and how you can better cope with them.
Why Do Dementia Patients Experience Behavioral Changes?
There could be a number of factors at play when someone’s behavior shifts. Memory, emotion, and behavior can all be negatively impacted by the brain abnormalities that cause dementia. These alterations in the brain may sometimes explain the behavior. It is also possible that the person’s environment, health, or medicine are all going through changes that are causing the behavior. Taking a bath, for example, may be excessively taxing because the individual is sick or injured. People with dementia experience its symptoms in unique ways. Knowing the backstory to someone’s behavior can provide you with the insight on how to deal with it.
Coping with Dementia Behavioral Changes
Adjusting to new habits is not easy and usually requires some trial and error. Keep in mind that the person’s actions are not planned. Because they are the ones closest to the person, family members and caregivers often become the targets of their anger and aggressiveness. The caregiver may feel helpless and terrified by the out-of-control behavior. Even if it does not seem like it, they need to hear reassuring words.
Some Things to Try
- Some challenging behaviors of people with dementia can be avoided by providing them with a soothing, routine-based environment.
- Keep things as comfortable as possible for everyone. Dementia sufferers may become distressed when they are placed in a new environment or among a group of strangers in which they feel overwhelmed or bewildered.
- Frustration from falling short of other people’s expectations can be a powerful motivator to develop behavioral changes.
- Physical restraint, leading someone away, or sneaking up on them from behind should be avoided if behavior becomes challenging. It could be best to give them space until they feel better, or you could always ask a friend or neighbor over to help out.
- Do not take what the dementia sufferer says to heart.
- Keep your voice from rising in pitch.
- Do not scold or punish them. It is possible that the person will not recall what happened, preventing them from drawing any lessons from it.
- Do your best to speak slowly, in a soothing tone of voice.
- You should avoid being angry or be inclined to start an argument.
Memory Care for Dementia Patients
It is easy for caregivers to experience caregivers’ burnout especially if they have no prior experience and knowledge on caring for a dementia patient. Giving your aging loved ones with dementia the specialized care they need can help improve both your and their quality of life. Memory care communities provide a person-oriented approach to care which focuses on slowing down the symptoms of dementia and enhancing the patient’s quality of life. Learn more about our memory care program to find out how it will benefit your aging loved one.