How to Handle Difficult Behaviors Caused by Dementia


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How to Handle Difficult Behaviors Caused by Dementia

​There’s no question that being a family caregiver to an older adult who has dementia isn’t an easy job. One of the things that makes it so difficult is the way it changes how your aging relative behaves. There are several difficult behaviors that can crop up with dementia as the disease progresses. Familiarizing yourself with them can help you to better prepare for what may be to come and how you can manage these behaviors. Below are 4 of the common difficult behaviors associated with dementia.

#1: Wandering

Sometimes seniors with dementia seem to walk around with no particular destination in mind. When that occurs inside the house, it can be a bit annoying, but it isn’t likely to cause any harm. However, wandering can be busy if the older adult leaves the house on their own and becomes injured or lost. There are several things that can cause wandering. A couple of possibilities are lack of exercise and boredom. Seniors might also wander because they are looking for something to fulfill a physical need, such as a bathroom to relieve themselves or a snack.

#2: Shadowing

Shadowing is a behavior in which the older adult follows their caregiver around the house, perhaps even trying to join them in the bathroom. The behavior is likely caused by confusion and a need for comfort. The senior sees the caregiver as someone who offers them safety, so they feel better when the caregiver is near them.

#3: Repetitive Behaviors

Dementia can cause some older adults to say or do certain things over and over. It’s not a dangerous behavior, but caregivers may find it frustrating. Like many dementia behaviors, repetition is often fueled by fear and boredom. As irritating as the behavior might be, just remember that it won’t help to argue with the senior and remind them they already said or did something. Patience is key.

#4: Agitation

Agitation isn’t just one behavior, it’s a group of them. Agitation includes aggressiveness, irritability, and sleeplessness. This kind of behavior can worsen as the disease progresses. The most common cause of agitation is a feeling of loss of control that occurs when the older adult feels as though they are being denied choices.

Elder care can assist with managing difficult behaviors caused by dementia. Elder care providers can offer stimulating activities to reduce the boredom that can cause some behaviors. Elder care providers can also make certain your aging relative’s physical needs are met, which could stop them from feeling agitated or frustrated. Because elder care providers are experienced professionals, staff members assigned to your loved one will likely have cared for other seniors with dementia, so they may have additional tricks for managing behaviors, which they will happily share with you.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Coal Creek, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare West Denver. Call today: (720) 263-6060.

Shanna Tourtlotte

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