Main Office: (304) 242-3340 Resources & Referrals: (304) 243-0996

Challenging Behaviors and Dementia

Posted: June 1, 2018, 9:59AM

Behaviors can be one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a loved one with dementia.  It is important to recognize that behaviors are a means of communication.  When verbal skills diminish and the care receiver can no longer express him/herself in more conventional means, they may do things while trying to express their needs.  We need to 'listen to what they are doing'.  What message are they trying to send?

It's important to think about difficult behaviors may be occurring.

Is the environment a problem?  Is it too stimulating?  Is there too much going on?  Are there insufficient cues?  Can the personfind what they need in the area?  Can they find and/or identify the bathroom?  Is the lighting poor?  Are floor patterns confusing?  Is there too little structure?

Is there physical discomfort?  Are they too hot or too cold?  Are they in pain?  Do they need to go to the bathroom?  Could it be a side-effect of medication?  Could it be dehydration?  Constipation?  Depression?  Fatique?  Acute illness such as a UTI or pneumonia?

Is the task the problem?  Could it be that the task is too complicated for the person?  (Tasks that we see as everyday and easy can trigger a catastrophic reaction because the person is no longer able to comprehend and perform the steps of the task.)   Is the task unfamiliar?  Make sure to modify tasks for your loved one's increasing impairment.  Break the task down into more "do-able" and understandable steps.

Is communication the problem?  Was your approach calm and non-demanding?  Did you start your communication that tested the person's memory?  ("Hi!  Remember me?  Who am I?  C'mon!  You know who I am!")  Did you speak slowly?  Did you use short, simple sentences?  Did you sound rushed and pressured?  (The care receiver will definitely pick up on this!)

There are many things that impact our loved ones with dementia.  We need to 'listen to what they are doing' so we can give the best care possible and avoid an escalation of behavioral challenges.

Want to learn more?  Come to our FREE program on Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behaviors at Good Shepherd Nursing Home, 159 Edgington Lane, Wheeling WV on June 20, 2018.  The program is being held in observance of The Longest Day and Brain Health & Awareness Month.  Seating is limited so reservations are required!  Contact me through this website or call me at 304 243-0996 to reserve YOUR seat or for more information!



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Contact Altenheim

1387 National Road
Wheeling, WV 26003

Main Office:
(304) 242-3340 (phone)

Resource & Referral Services:
(304) 243-0996 (phone)

(304) 243-0999 (fax)

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