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Four Tips for Helping a Senior with Dementia-related Negative Behaviors 

November 8th, 2018

By: Linda Kunicki

Many people with dementia start to exhibit behaviors that you as your senior's caregiver might not understand. These behaviors are often out of character and seem to show up out of nowhere. Your loved one might become loud, start to wander, or do other things that seem strange.

What Is Happening When the Behavior Starts?

You may not realize it, but there may be something specific that happens when these behaviors start. For instance, your elderly family member might become agitated and start vocalizing loudly at times. What you may not see, though, is that those may be situations when it's noisy or when there's a lot going on. Your senior may become overstimulated and making loud vocalizations is how she copes in that moment.

Some People Can Trigger Behaviors

Going to the doctor's office can be scary for people who don't have dementia. But for your senior with dementia, she may not be able to express her nervousness in a way that you understand. So every time you go to the doctor, you may find that she starts to wander or fidget in an agitated way. That's her response to being in a situation that makes her uncomfortable.

Check for Basic Needs

Sometimes people with dementia have outbursts or start to wander when they have a basic need that they aren't able to meet on their own. For instance, she might need the bathroom and be unable to tell you that or to find the bathroom on her own. That can lead to behaviors that you don't automatically connect with a bathroom visit. Go down the checklist of basic needs, such as bathroom visits, eating, or having some water.

Talk to Her Doctor

When you start to recognize triggers for your elderly family member, keep notes. Talk with her doctor about what is going on and what you're putting together. If there are still gaps in your understanding about what's causing these behaviors, her doctor can help you to work those out. There may be changes that you can make, such as when and how she's eating or when she's sleeping, that can help you both to deal with these behaviors.

Remember that your elderly family member isn't doing these things to upset you or to punish you. Dementia changes how her brain works and because of that she's not always able to respond to situations in ways that make sense to you or to other people. The more that you can learn about what triggers these behaviors for her, the better equipped you'll be to help her.

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN BROOKFIELD, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.