How to Manage Behavioral Changes in Dementia Home Care?

Ever wonder why when someone you love gets older, they often say things that are strange, out of character, or just hurtful?

According to the research, caregivers often find emotional, verbal, or physical expression of an elderly father or mother to be completely out of character or shocking. It seems like your loved one has become a totally different individual.

Some behaviorists argue that a change in behavior is only due to a reflection of buried feelings and emotions. They say that dementia in elderly patients doesn’t allow them to filter politically and lets the flood gates open to reveal their dark or negative side.

What are common behavioral changes?

  • Issuing insults or profanity
  • Accusing family members of stealing lost items
  • Unusual walking patterns
  • Loss of interest
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hiding things
  • Misunderstanding what he or she hears or sees
  • Wandering
  • Hallucination

How to manage behavioral changes in individualized care

Most caregivers can tell you that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias affect more than just memory loss. However, caregivers must realize that changes in behaviors are linked to the breakdown of brain cells resulting from dementia in elderly patients. It’s not their conscious decision to behave in such an awkward manner.

To manage behavioral changes, you must realize that your loved one cannot control their behavior. The change must occur in you, the caregiver. Identify and understand their behavior and modify your approach to ease the situation.

It’s always an overwhelming task to care for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes, dementia in elderly persons reduces their ability to communicate through language. As a result, they rely on body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. As a caregiver, you should never react negatively. Remember, you can’t change a person; however, you can try to decrease the intensity or frequency of the behavior. Consider these approaches during individualized care:

Identify the issue

First of all, evaluate the following things.

Is it the person himself causing the problem or any other person? Is the change in behavior due to the attitude of other people? What is happening in the environment? Is the environment uncomfortable or noisy? Is the patient feeling pain?

Evaluate the situation

Where and when does the problem happen? Note the time when there is a change in behavior. Is it after a regular event (mealtime, shift change, taking medication, bathing, and visiting hours)? Does it occur only at a certain time of day? What is the pattern of change in behavior? If you note all the information, it will help you to avoid situations triggering the behavioral changes.

Observe how the patient feels when he behaves awkwardly

Check if he behaves badly when he’s uncomfortable or in pain, scared, getting too much stimulation, tired, frustrated or anxious. Observe whether he’s feeling patronized, misunderstood, ignored, embarrassed, having delusions, depressed, experiencing hallucinations, under-stimulated, bored, or lacking in social contact. During individualized care, you must also consider the environment, for instance, is it too hot or cold?

Techniques to help manage undesired personality changes

Communication

Listen to the person carefully; what they’re saying, both verbally and non-verbally. Be polite with them. Never ask open-ended questions, such as, “What is bothering you?”.

Make a plan

Make a plan ahead of the situation or event that causes behavioral change.

Keep a daily routine

During individualized care, changes in routine can cause behavioral changes, so avoid it.

Positive behavior of the caregiver

Positive behavior of the caregiver can keep things normal. Praise, smile, personal attention, and a gentle touch can play an effective role to keep the person’s behavior normal.

Preserve dignity

You should allow the patient some sense of control to preserve dignity.

Keep things simple

Complex situations can escalate the issue of negative behavior, so try to avoid them.

Sense of humor

Humor can often defuse the tense situation and help the person become more comfortable and relaxed.

Bottom line

It’s also important for caregivers to stay cool and calm. They must practice ways to reduce stress and frustration. Keep in mind the fact that an angry and tense caregiver can only worsen the situation. Second Family Home Care offers home care in Plano to your loved ones. Our team of professionals make sure your loved one stays comfortable with dignity. We also offer complete personal and household services that allow seniors to maintain their dignity and independence.

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Becca Metoyer, CSA, Owner

Our owner and founder, Becca Metoyer, is a Certified Senior Advisor® and is dedicated to placing qualified, appropriate caregivers in the homes of people who need help. Having been a caregiver herself to her aging mother for several years, she is uniquely qualified to understand the expectations of her clients. She is available 24/7 to help you and your family with your care needs.
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