challenging behaviour dementia

Challenging Behaviours in Dementia and How to Deal With Them

When people think about someone suffering from dementia, they most likely think of someone unable to remember and similar consequences of a declining memory. However, those who deal with dementia patients daily, such as carers, know that dementia can encompass a lot more challenging behaviour, including dementia with aggression. You can learn more about the different types of dementia, including vascular dementia behaviours, by clicking here.

Common behaviors of dementia that are more challenging can include:

  • Wandering
  • Repeating the same question multiple times
  • Throwing objects
  • violence towards others

It makes caring for a dementia sufferer far more demanding. Understanding vascular dementia behaviours, why dementia with aggression happens and how to deal with it are what we’ll look at here.

What are the challenging behaviours dementia can trigger?

In addition to the challenging behaviour already mentioned, other common behaviors of dementia include restlessness, destroying personal items, shouting, scratching and biting. As a carer, you not only have to try and lessen dementia with aggression when it happens but, ideally, try and stop it from occurring in the first place. That means establishing the root cause of the behaviour. Once that is done, the challenging behaviour is far easier to understand, control, and even eliminate altogether. It’s also helpful to have an overall understanding of dementia. A good place to start is here.

paranoia in dementia

Triggers for challenging behaviour in dementia

Often, challenging behaviour will appear to come out of nowhere, but that is not the case. The reason a dementia sufferer acts in a more difficult manner can often be the result of being frightened, irritated or confused. They may be trying to communicate something their disease doesn’t allow them to say more conventionally. For instance, tearing their clothing may indicate a dress or shirt is too tight. Hitting someone may result from being scared by a sudden movement or a new, unfamiliar task. Paranoia in dementia is common, and simply being aware of this is also helpful. It’s always important to remember that the difficult behaviour results from dementia, not the patient. This means never judging and always seeing any situation from the patient’s point of view.

Limiting the triggers of challenging behaviour dementia brings.

One of the best ways to limit challenging behaviour and promote positive behavioural changes in dementia is to have a set routine for every patient. When a patient has an idea of what will happen and is happening because it has happened before, they will generally feel more comfortable and at ease. As already mentioned, paranoia in dementia can be a root cause. Lashing out can often be reflex behaviour to a new, unexpected situation. Perhaps they are in a new room or seeing someone they haven’t seen before. Familiar objects taken to that place beforehand can make a difference. A set routine for washing, meal times, medication, and leisure activities can promote a sense of security. It’s also best to have an individual schedule for each dementia sufferer that caters to their unique needs. If you’re unsure about what care a dementia sufferer may need, take our complete care assessment to help you find the exact care needed.

behavioural changes in dementia

Dealing with challenging behaviour

First and foremost, the carer’s safety should be of utmost importance. The challenging behaviour can be violent such as biting, pulling or scratching. It can also include sexual behaviour that is awkward to deal with. In any situation, it’s important to try and react calmly and be controlled, or else it could worsen the behaviour of the dementia sufferer. If need be, ask for help from others. Try to understand why the patient is behaving this way. Think of what may be the cause or have triggered the challenging behaviour dementia involves. Is it the environment, a desire to do something or fear? Engaging in simple conversation can often get to the root of the challenging behaviour dementia has triggered. As always, remember it’s the dementia that is the problem and not the patient.

Longer-term strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour

Common behaviours of dementia that are more challenging are indeed a challenge the carer has to learn to deal with. Yet, calming patients and making them feel more at ease can be one of the most emotionally rewarding aspects of the job. Establishing routine and structure, understanding and knowing the individual needs of each patient, as well as knowing how to calm a patient are all beneficial in controlling challenging behaviour. Reminiscence therapy, is also an excellent method for improving the wellbeing of a patient. Positive behavioural changes in dementia can often take time, but having that routine and knowledge can benefit the carer and, more importantly, the lives of dementia sufferers. To understand more about dementia behaviours, you can click here. Otherwise, contact us for more information; we’ll happily answer any questions you have.