4 Challenging Behaviors Caused by Dementia

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After a senior loved one is diagnosed with dementia, there are a variety of symptoms that are likely to occur, many of which can be difficult for family caregivers to manage. The Woodlands dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss 4 of the most challenging behaviors related to dementia and how to prevent them.

1. Wandering

Seniors with dementia have the tendency to wander, which can be due to a side effect of medications, a need they are trying to fulfill like using the restroom or getting a snack, boredom, or because they are looking for someone. Though wandering in the home may be harmless in most cases, it can pose a danger if your loved one leaves the home without supervision. Reduce the risk of wandering by arranging for your loved one to exercise each day. Consider putting keyed locks on all of the doors leading to rooms that are unsafe for your loved one. Adding child-safe covers to the doorknobs, placing a black mat on the front porch that will look like a “hole,” and alerting neighbors to wandering behaviors can help your loved one remain safe.

2. Agitation

Your loved one may become agitated easily as a result of dementia. This symptom may present itself with irritation, harsh words, and physical aggression. Fear due to being in an unfamiliar situation, tiredness, or feeling a lack of control may trigger these feelings. Maintaining a regular routine for your loved one can help reduce the risk of agitation. Always keep dangerous objects out of reach so your loved one doesn’t hurt him or herself or others when feeling agitated.

3. Sleeplessness

“Sundowning” is a term used to describe typical dementia behaviors that worsen as the day draws to a close, which can prevent sleep from occurring. Scientists believe sundowning may occur due to a senior’s biological clock reversing day and night. Try to keep your loved one active during the day and try to prevent him or her from napping. Look for trigger foods that may keep your loved one awake, such as sugar or caffeine, and avoid serving them during the afternoon and early evening hours to help your loved one sleep better.

4. Paranoia

Dementia can cause your loved one to become suddenly jealous, suspicious, or make unfounded accusations toward others. Though these feelings may not make sense to you, the situation likely feels very real to your loved one. Don’t argue or disagree because it can make this situation worse. Instead, help your loved one look for a missing item or money before distracting him or her with another activity. Try gently touching your loved one and acknowledge his or her fears. Explain to other relatives about the possibility of paranoia so they can also handle the situation appropriately.

At Home Care Assistance, we train all of our caregivers to become experts in elderly dementia care. Whether it’s providing mental stimulation through our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM) or assisting with basic daily tasks like bathing, cooking, and exercise, you can rely on our caregivers to enhance your loved one’s quality of life. To learn more about CTM and the in-home senior care Woodlands families trust, call 832-412-1345 today.