Managing Behavior

The care for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia can be difficult.

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Below we offer a few tips that will assist you:

  • Coordinate with the doctor.  If a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, your doctor has a wealth of knowledge and resources available.  
  • Understand the diagnosis and what to expect.  
  • Stay positive. Individuals who are affected by dementia are aware of your tone, mood and body language.  
  • Remove distractions.  If you are in a noisy or high traffic environment, remove the distractions.  Speak clearly and make eye contact.  
  • Simplify the task.  Whether you are bathing, dressing or feeding, break down each task into simple steps as you provide encouragement, reassurance and praise. 
  • Remain calm and limit frustration. Escalated behavior is triggered and if you become anxious or frustrated, the chance increases. 
  • Establish routines. Consistency and familiar routine provide a sense of control.  
  • Understand the diet. Refined sugar and caffeine increases the chance of irritability.  Steer your loved one’s diet towards unprocessed food high in anti-oxidants and omega 3 fats. 
  • Anticipate.  You will recognize patterns that result in escalating behavior.  Use snacks or humor to regain control. 
  • Physical activity. Physical activity increases blood flow, releases endorphins and helps with sleep.  
  • Remember the yesteryears. Speak of good memories and moments of pride. Set out photo albums and other memorabilia.   
  • Environment. Persons with dementia can be confused by patterns and shadows.  Keep the lights on and remove rugs or pictures that could cause confusion.  Keep the environment free of clutter and make sure danger areas are barricaded and dangerous items kept out of reach.  
  • Spend time with your loved one. Speak, touch and listen with your heart.  No matter what stage they are in, they know you are there. 
  • Support.  Ask family and friends to help you throughout the day. 
  • Take time for yourself.  Caring for a loved one with dementia can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It is important to find time for yourself. 
  • Have patience. 
  • Understand.  The actions of your loved one are often the result of frustration at the lack of control of their life.  Empathize with them and tell them you understand. 
  • Purpose.  Have your loved one partake in tasks that provide purpose in their day.  It will create pride. 
  • Socialize.  Human interaction with others is good. Consider supervised sessions with younger generation. 
  • Hobbies. Most persons have hobbies that bring them comfort and a sense of peace.  This does not change.