Challenging, Combative or Aggressive Behaviors include: arguing, cursing, threatening, accusing, frustration, suspicions, hostility, confusion, annoyance, resentfulness, resisting care, fighting, pinching, and spitting, hitting, kicking, verbal or physical attacks.
Persons with any of the dementias can exhibit challenging behaviors at times. Some persons may have a complete change in personality, others will stay the same. Some persons may experience a difficult period of time during the disease process, others may not. And sometimes, it’s no big deal: your loved one just may be having a bad day. We all have bad days.
But when behaviors become a concern, we have to remember we are working with a person whose brain is damaged. We have to identify if there is another cause for the behavior and how determine how we can best work to help the person. These are the keys we look for to identify and assist your loved one.
Illness, medication (taste, choking, effects fading), hungry, thirsty, too hot or too cold, need to toilet
Loud noises, busy or active environment
New places, inability to recognize home
Difficulty with activities or chores or social settings
Inability to communicate effectively, “strangers” asking “Do you know who I am?”
First – Identify the behavior
Did something trigger the behavior?
What happened immediately before the behavior occurred?
What were you doing?
How did you react?
Try to remember and answer: What, Where, When, Why and How?
Second – Explore potential solutions
What are the dementia person’s needs?
Are they being met?
Can adapting the environment help reduce the difficult behavior?
How can you change your reaction or approach to the behavior?
Are you responding in a calm and supportive way?
Third – Try different responses
Did your new response help?
Do you need to explore other solutions or causes? If so, what can you do differently?
Other types of behaviors we see include suspicious thoughts and repetitive actions. Here are the guidelines to addressing those behaviors.
Don’t take offense.
Don’t argue or try to convince.
Offer a simple answer.
Switch his attention to another activity.
Duplicate items if lost.
Listen to his frustration.
Repetitive Actions Can Occur
Look for a reason behind the repetition, but remember pilling and rubbing is normal.
Respond to the emotion, not the behavior. Accept the behavior and work with it.
Turn the action or behavior into an activity.
Stay calm and be patient. Engage him in an activity.
Answer the person, even if you have to repeat it several times.