As dementia progresses over time, you may realize that your loved one behaves differently from their usual selves, which can be distressing for both you and your loved one with dementia. In this article, we will guide you on how you can manage some of the common behavioral changes in dementia that you may see in your parent with dementia.
Repeating the Same Question or Activity
As a result of memory loss due to dementia, you may notice your loved one repeating the same question or activity because they’re unable to remember what they did or said. Although it may be frustrating, it is essential to stay patient with your loved ones as they are not deliberately doing it. Reassure them that they do not need to worry about missing appointments as they’ve all been arranged on the same day or encourage them to talk about something they like can help.
Restlessness and Fidgeting
Due to not being able to sleep well at night, your loved one with dementia may develop restless behaviors such as pacing up and down, wandering around the streets, or easily feeling agitated and fidgety.
This can be managed by making sure your loved one receives good nutrition, having a daily routine for them to follow, accompanying them on walks, getting them engaged in their favorite activities such as watching their favorite TV show, or occupying them with hands-on activities.
Disturbances in Their Sleep
As dementia affects the body clock and sleep-wake cycles, your loved one may get up various times throughout the night, thereby having an overall poorer quality of sleep. This may pose difficulties for their caregivers whose sleep is similarly disturbed. Things that you could try would be to keep them busy with activities during the day, ensure their bedroom is comfortable and install blackout curtains if necessary, and have them cut down on caffeine intake, especially before their bedtime.
Following a Partner or Caregiver Around
You may notice that your loved one likes to follow their partner or a caregiver wherever they go. This occurs as dementia makes people feel insecure and anxious about their surroundings, thus requiring constant reassurance that they’re safe and secure.
You may reassure your parent that they’re safe and not alone and that this is their home if they’re asking to go home without realizing that they’re actually in their own home. Instead of telling your loved one who’s constantly asking to see people who’ve passed away years ago that they’ve passed away, you could talk to them about that period.
Loss of Self-confidence or Interest in Things They Usually Enjoy
Dementia may decrease your loved one’s self-confidence, which may appear as if they’ve lost interest in meeting people or doing activities they usually enjoy.
This can be managed by explaining to your loved one what the activity consists of or who they’ll be meeting, and reassuring them that the doing of or the process of getting to the activity is a straightforward one. If your loved one is still hesitant, consider doing simpler activities such as meeting a smaller group of people at a time rather than meeting a large group which may seem intimidating to them.