(from: Family Caregiver Alliance, San Francisco, California)
It is not easy caring for someone with dementia. Here are five tips to remember when you encounter challenging dementia behaviors.
1. We cannot change the person.
The person you care for has a brain disorder that shapes who they have become.
2. Behavior is triggered.
The behavior that’s exhibited may be triggered by something a person said, a medical or dental issue, some change in their surroundings or a feeling of loss of control.
3. Behavior has a purpose.
Behavior is oftentimes a method of communicating physical or emotional needs, such as having to use the bathroom, feeling hungry or wanting to feel safe, useful or productive.
4. What works today may not work tomorrow.
It is important to remain patient, flexible and curious about the root of any challenging behavior.
5. Maintain a positive attitude.
Challenging behaviors are coping mechanisms for deteriorating brain function. Try to stay positive, resist taking things personally and keep a sense of humor.
To read more about dementia behaviors and how you can work to communicate better with your loved one or client, click here.