How to cope with challenging behaviour from a person with dementia

Severe Dementia often throws carers into situations where they are confronting mood swings or emotional outbursts on a regular basis. As it changes the way the brain functions, an individual with the condition may become confused or demonstrate unfamiliar behaviour. Not all challenging behaviour will originate from anything deep or meaningful about the patient’s personality but is a symptom of the Dementia itself. 

Difficult behaviour would suggest there will be an underlying discomfort arising from any of the following issues: struggling with tasks, insomnia, loss of personal items, boredom, over stimulation and changes in routine. 

Though the challenging behaviour can be distressing in itself, especially if it is from someone close who is acting uncharacteristically, this is never a reflection of who the person is now. However it is worth considering some strategies to make life easier.

  • Interaction: Try spending some quality time with them by doing some activity together. This is a great way to alleviate a troubled loved one. Interacting with a favourite activity will help reduce the likelihood of a meltdown. This could take the form of going for a short walk or having a coffee or drink drink together. 

  • Leave Space: Don’t try to reason with them but alternatively, give them space for the anger to work itself out of the system as with the more severe cases, the patient will most probably forget and calm down on their own accord.

  • Physical Signs: Could they possibly be hungry, thirsty or dehydrated? Look for physical signs that something is making them feel uncomfortable. Discomfort could show in how they move like they are walking in an unfamiliar way for instance.

  • Behaviour Triggers: Avoid triggers already sure to set off negative reactions. This will depend upon the individuals temperament but reactions to examples of a more general nature such as tiredness, hunger and thrist are quite common.

Living with Dementia can be a challenge. Call and speak to our advisor who can guide you through some practical hints and tips to try and help at this time.

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