Dementia Behaviors

The challenges of dementia behaviors can be overwhelming. Learn how to prevent dementia behaviors, and deal with them when they occur

Dementia Behaviors
Dementia Behaviors 

The Challenges of Dementia Behaviors

One of the most difficult challenges any of us face with dementia care is not knowing what to do when difficult behaviors occur. An individual's personality is basically the way a person views and approaches the world. It is their natural disposition. Some individuals are always confident and outgoing. Their positive attitude allows them to try new things and adapt easily. Other individuals are more reserved and introspective. These individuals may be more timid about change, and may feel uncomfortable around unfamiliar people.

Some people like to be organized and efficient, while others are more relaxed about life. Individuals also vary in their expression of emotions and need for physical contact with others. When your family member is faced with living with dementia, the way they respond to their environment will depend on their personality. Some will try to fight the disease and may experience a lot of frustration as a consequence. Others, after diagnosis, become depressed and increasingly withdrawn.

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For a family caregiver, understanding this will help you to respond to challenging behaviors in a way that is in tune with your family member's personality. For example, a retired elementary school teacher who likes to feel organized may feel more reassured if they are dressed early in the morning and have everything in order in their environment.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry titled "The Cache County Dementia Progression Study," by researchers at Utah State University in conjunction with Johns Hopkins, is the first published research to show that there is a correlation with aspects of the care environment and the rate of the progression of dementia. The use of the techniques in this book can have a positive impact on your family member and slow the progression of the dementia.

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Dementia-related behaviors encompass a wide range of symptoms associated with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. As the condition progresses, individuals may experience these symptoms alongside memory loss and cognitive changes. It's essential to recognize that these behaviors can be influenced by underlying medical conditions, environmental factors, and certain medications, either causing them or exacerbating their severity.

Symptoms of Dementia Behaviors

These symptoms may include sleep disturbances, agitation (including physical or verbal aggression, emotional distress, restlessness, pacing, tearing paper or tissues, and yelling), delusions (firmly believing in things that are not real), and hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren't present). It is crucial to seek a comprehensive medical evaluation if any of these symptoms occur suddenly.

These behavioral and psychiatric symptoms can be caused by several situations, such as pain, underlying infections, or medical illnesses (injuries, urinary tract infections, ear infections, pneumonia, etc.). They can also arise from prescription drug interactions, changes in living arrangements or caregiver situations, misperceived threats, fatigue from trying to navigate a confusing world, unaddressed visual or hearing impairments, travel, hospitalization, difficulties with bathing, or struggling with tasks due to declining cognitive abilities.

When it comes to treatment, there are two approaches: non-drug interventions and prescription medications. It is essential to explore non-drug strategies to manage these behaviors before resorting to medications. Taking a proactive approach can help improve the overall well-being and quality of life for individuals experiencing dementia-related behaviors.

This book has been written to support and provide encouragement to the family caregiver/care partner. This guidebook will help you overcome the most common challenges of providing care and develop skills and strategies to deal with the challenging behaviors that can occur with dementia. This will decrease the stress and enhance the relationship of the family member with dementia as well as with their care partner.

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