As dementia progresses, it can fundamentally change a person’s personality and behaviour. If you’re caring for a loved one with the condition, seeing their behaviour alter can be difficult. Here are 10 of our top recommendations for coping with changes in behaviour.
1. Remember it’s the dementia at work
If your loved one has become more aggressive or more argumentative, it’s because they have less control over their emotions, words and actions. Reminding yourself it’s the dementia, and not your loved one talking can make a big difference.
2. Be calm
People with dementia often become more easily distressed and angry. Staying calm when your loved one is upset will help to defuse the situation and make them feel safe and secure.
3. Clear communication
Keeping your communication as clear as possible will help to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. This should help to keep your loved one calm and avoid them becoming upset or confused.
4. Keep copies of important documents
Keeping copies of important documents in easy to reach places can help you reassure your loved one that everything is in order and you have the admin under control.
5. Put important items where you’ll remember them
It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to be delusional and suspicious. To avoid your loved one accusing anyone of stealing, put important items like wallets, glasses and keys in an obvious, easy to access spot.
People with dementia are often triggered by certain situations. These situations can lead to them becoming upset, angry or confused. Observing your loved one should help you to spot these triggers and avoid them in the future.
7. Keep familiar items close
Old photos and familiar items can be very reassuring for someone with dementia. Keep some family snaps in your wallet or on your phone so you can distract and reassure your loved one if they become upset.
8. Avoid disagreements
Dementia can often lead to irrational thoughts. If your loved one is expressing opinions or ideas you find strange or unusual, it’s generally best to change the subject rather than disagree with them.
9. Keep to a routine
Routine makes life a lot easier for those living with dementia. Sticking to a daily timetable will help your loved one to keep calm and manage their emotions.
10. Keep an eye on nutrition
People with dementia often forget to eat and drink sufficiently throughout the day. Dehydration and hunger can exacerbate behavioural issues, so make sure your loved one is getting the nutrition they need.
Learn more about coping with dementia, and about the help and support that’s available to you by visiting the Dementia network website.