2017-07 FTHC In-Service:
Alzheimer's disease and related dementias can cause a person to act in different and unpredictable ways. Some individuals with Alzheimer's become anxious or aggressive. Others repeat certain questions or gestures. Many misinterpret what they see or hear.
These types of reactions can lead to misunderstanding, frustration and tension, particularly between the person with the dementia and the caregiver. It is important to understand the the person is not acting this way on purpose.
Causes of behavior changes
Physical discomfort caused by an illness or medications
Over-stimulation from loud noises or a busy environment
Unfamiliar surroundings such as new places or inability to recognize home.
Frustrating interactions due to the inability to communicate effectively
Use this three-step approach to help identify common behaviors and their causes
Identify and examine the behavior
What was the behavior? Is is harmful to the individual or others?
What happened before the behavior occurred? Did something trigger the behavior?
What happened immediately after the behavior occurred? How did you react?
Consult a physician to identify any causes related to medications or illness.
Explore potential solutions
What are the needs of the person with dementia? Are they being met?
Can adapting the surroundings comfort the person? Can you lower the noise level or turn on lights?
How can you change your reaction or your approach to the behavior? Are you responding in a calm and supportive way?
Try different responses
Did your new response help?
Do you need to explore other potential causes and solutions? If so, what can you do differently?
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