Dementia – Fear Beyond the Comfort Zone

There are many situations when someone with advanced dementia will be fearful if they are placed outside their own particular comfort zone. These could be everyday occurrence like shower time or other grooming tasks where it is possible resistance will be encountered. Of course, there are several reasons for challenging behaviour to exist. So that every day activities run as smoothly as possible, it is important to understand the underlying causes to resistance or refusal. Some of the following may be considered as the main triggers and possible approaches for a carer or family memeber to support challenging behaviour.

Frustration from loss of pride due to greater dependency on carers and family – Try to avoid criticism. Your role is to boost confidence when a loved one can no longer completely look after themselves.

Time pressures during a full day – Be ready to start each stage of the activity when required. Positive reinforcement and reward can significantly support someone with dementia and more likely to move the task along.

From imagined threats – Take on the role of a cheerleader to reassure them that they are doing great and they are indeed safe.

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety – By adopting a gentle tone of voice, you are creating a calm atmosphere which will reduce tension. Talk respectfully.

Memory Loss – Support as a guide and signpost different aspects of the task.

Irregular routines – Take time out to cue by explaining why a particular activity is not happening as expected.

Over stimulation from surroundings – Act calmly and respond with praise when an activity is over.