A caregiver’s guide to dementia behaviours
Watching a loved one start showing dementia symptoms, including changes for the worse in their behaviour, can be heartbreaking. Dementia is a progressive biological brain disorder which leads to sufferers increasingly struggling to think clearly, recall things, look after themselves and communicate with others – and all of this can have adverse implications for how sufferers behave.
However, by learning how the condition can change people’s behaviour, you can learn how to handle and care for someone who is suffering dementia, as this guide further elaborates.
The link between dementia and behavioural changes
Dementia comes about due to brain damage brought by injury or disease. Therefore, conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease can be particularly responsible for the onset of dementia – and most of the condition’s causes are irreversible. When losing brain cells, someone could struggle to gain or access memories – and so start showing some peculiar behaviours.
You are unlikely to succeed in attempts to control or change these behaviours. This is due to the permanent nature of their condition. Trying to influence that behaviour could even lead to resistance from the person living with dementia. Therefore, you should endeavour to accommodate, rather than control, that behaviour – or change your own behaviour or the surroundings.
What types of behaviour should you look out for
Sometimes, dementia-caused behaviour can be strange but still openly revealed, allowing you to cater for it readily. For example, someone might insist that they sleep on the floor – in which case, you can put down a mattress for their comfort. However, there could be a greater mystery behind other behaviours – like adopting a daily habit of removing all of the clothes from a cupboard.
Dementia suffers are often unable to let us know what they want or require. However, many odd behaviours can arise simply because that person needs to stay busy and productive. Some behavioural problems might also arise due to underlying medical reasons; for example, pain or a side effect caused by medications. Behaviour can also be prompted by external “triggers”…
Those could include a particular action by another person or an alteration in the physical surroundings. However, you may have inadvertently allowed the settling of particular patterns which are leading to the strange behaviour. Therefore, don’t be afraid to sometimes change your approach – particularly considering that, as the disease is progressive, what works one day could become less effective, or even completely ineffective, surprisingly quickly.
You don’t have to handle the behaviour alone
This is because you can utilise external sources of support. Here at Kentish Homecare, we have expertise in caring for dementia sufferers; therefore, our own team of carers can free up time for you to spend on other matters, like looking after yourself. By contacting us by phone on 0208 658 4455, you can further learn how we can effectively care for people with dementia.