Education and Care
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 866.232.8484. Real People. Real Care.
Alzheimer's Foundation of America 866.232.8484