Dementia affects an individual’s cognitive function, including memory, language, and decision-making abilities, eventually leading to problematic behaviors such as agitation, aggression, and confusion. Unfortunately, many caregivers fail to understand the underlying cause of the behavior, making it challenging to provide the necessary care.
Managing difficult behaviors associated with dementia requires understanding the underlying causes and developing strategies tailored to the person’s needs and preferences. Getting familiar with the most common behaviors associated with dementia can help caregivers improve the quality of life for both the person with dementia and their caregivers. In this article, we will discuss practical ways to manage difficult behaviors associated with dementia.
Identify the Underlying Causes
The first step in managing difficult behaviors associated with dementia is to understand the underlying causes. There are several reasons why a person with dementia may exhibit challenging behaviors.
- Physical discomfort: Individuals with dementia may express their physical discomfort through difficult behaviors if they are experiencing pain, hunger, thirst, or other physical discomforts they cannot communicate.
- Environmental factors: Loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or changes in routine can cause confusion and distress for people with dementia, as individuals with some forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are often sensitive to sound.
- Emotional distress: Dementia significantly alters an individual’s daily life, and this unfamiliarity and confusion can lead to one feeling frustrated or depressed, leading to challenging behaviors.
- Medication side effects: Some medications used to treat dementia or other conditions can cause side effects that affect behavior.
Provide Professional Care
Once you’ve determined the root cause of the difficult behavior, consult a professional care provider, such as a private memory care home, to learn the best ways to help your loved one. In some cases, it might be best to move your loved one to a memory care residence and allow professionals to manage problematic behaviors associated with dementia.
Care homes like Sagecare are staffed with registered nurses who know the best ways to interpret potential behaviors and offer assistance as necessary. Their expertise will allow your loved one to feel comfortable and safe, reducing the frequency of difficult dementia behaviors.
Develop Communication Strategy
Communication can be challenging for people with dementia, so using simple language, speaking slowly, and providing visual cues is important. It is also necessary to listen carefully and understand the person’s needs and concerns.
Developing a communication strategy will allow your loved one to demonstrate their feelings and let you act accordingly. For example, if you suspect your loved one behaves a certain way due to physical discomfort, address the issue by scheduling regular check-ups with a doctor to identify and treat physical discomfort. This may include pain, constipation, or other conditions.
Create a Calming Environment
The last thing an individual with dementia wants to deal with is an unsettling, loud, or confusing environment. So it’s important to create a calm environment to help reduce agitation and other challenging behaviors. Reducing noise and visual distractions, creating a consistent routine, and providing a safe and comfortable space can help.
Managing difficult behaviors associated with dementia can be challenging sometimes, but with the right approach, it is possible to improve the quality of life for both the person with dementia and their caregivers.