Do you have a cherished family member or friend affected by dementia? You're far from alone in facing this situation, as millions worldwide grapple with dementia's impact. Although it can present significant challenges, support and resources are readily accessible.
Dealing with Challenging Behaviors in Alzheimer's and Dementia: Understanding and Responding
Alzheimer's and other dementias often bring about difficult behaviors that catch us off guard. It's like the disease unveils a whole new side of the person. They may use offensive language they've never used before, engage in inappropriate actions, or even reject visitors with screams.
Why Do We Call Them "Challenging Behaviors"?
No matter what you call them, these behaviors do challenge us and the individuals affected by dementia. Some alternative terms used include behavioral problems, behavior changes, acting out, and inappropriate behaviors.
Do All Dementia Patients Experience Challenging Behaviors?
While there are a few who remain pleasantly confused throughout their dementia journey, most individuals do experience these behaviors as the disease progresses.
Causes of Challenging Behaviors
Dementia affects the brain, which controls our behaviors. So it's no surprise that our behaviors are affected along with our thinking and memory. Challenging behaviors can be caused by physical factors like discomfort or illness, psychological factors such as confusion or paranoia, or environmental factors like overstimulation or a different routine.
Different Behaviors in Different Stages
During the early stages of dementia, people may exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors or hoarding tendencies to maintain control and prevent mistakes. In the middle stages, anger, aggression, and agitation become more common, along with hallucinations and paranoia. In the later stages, apathy and withdrawal are more prevalent, while challenging behaviors decrease.
How to Respond to Challenging Behaviors
Responding to these behaviors can be a challenge in itself. Remember, it's the disease causing the behavior, not the person's choice. Taking breaks and practicing self-care can be beneficial. Non-drug approaches should be the first option, although medications may be prescribed when necessary.
Understanding and responding to challenging behaviors in Alzheimer's and dementia can make a significant difference in providing care and support.
We're here to assist you in developing effective strategies for managing the behavioral shifts that often accompany dementia. Our comprehensive guide offers essential insights, including valuable do's and don'ts, tailored to those in close proximity to individuals dealing with this condition.
Access our complimentary guide today to empower yourself with knowledge and understanding.