Strategies to Head Off or Deal With Behavior Problems
Pay attention to what the individual with dementia is saying—both verbally and non-verbally. Caregivers also should be aware of their communication techniques, including providing one-step instructions and speaking in a reassuring tone.
Think ahead and plan for situations that could result in problem behaviors.
Understand that trying to argue with someone who has dementia only results in frustration for both them and the caregiver.
Distract and divert attention whenever possible.
Hold to the same routine.
Keep things simple to avoid frustration.
Promote a sense of security and comfort.
Use positive reinforcements, such as smiles, a gentle touch, personal attention and praise.
Allow the individual to have some sense of control. Being able to "save face" is important to someone who is very confused.
Maintain a calm manner even when the individual becomes aggressive or agitated. This can defuse a tense situation and help reduce a person's fears.
Assess the situation to protect yourself. Should an individual's aggression become violent, be mindful of your own safety first.
Caregivers should practice ways to reduce stress when they become angry or frustrated, since anger and frustration could aggravate a behavior problem.
Remember that behavior problems result from the disease. Do not take things that the person says and does personally; it is the disease speaking.
Be creative and use common sense.
Try to keep a sense of humor even in the most difficult situations.
Connect with other family caregivers:
For more information, connect with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.AFA.8484. Real People. Real Care.