Dementia Behaviors


As Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress, behaviors often change in increasingly challenging ways. The confusion and frustration related to cognitive decline often leads to behavioral issues such as:
• Agitation
• Irritability
• Verbal and physical aggression
• Increased anxiety
• Repetition
• Shadowing
• Wandering
• Disrobing
• Skin picking
• Sleeplessness

While there is no definitive solution for effectively dealing with challenging dementia behaviors, behavioral therapies are often the first intervention used in an attempt to modify these disruptive behaviors. Families are often advised to try validation techniques and to try comforting and calming measures to diffuse increasing agitation and irritability. Many caregivers turn to antipsychotic medications to reduce problematic behaviors, however there are no FDA approved medications specifically prescribed for this purpose.

As an individual progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver responsibilities increase. To help caregivers who are dealing with the challenges of dementia care, we have compiled expert advice as well tips and strategies from the experience of other caregivers who are coping with challenging dementia behaviors.

Dementia Behaviors Articles

  • An Inside Take on Dementia Behaviors

    A dementia patient’s perspective on shadowing, repeating questions and dealing with other troubling behaviors associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

    26 Comments
  • Dementia Caregiving Tips from Teepa Snow

    Five dementia caregiving tips from Teepa Snow, acclaimed dementia care authority and occupational therapist known as “the horse whisperer of dementia.”

    37 Comments
  • Is Using Validation for Dementia Calming or Condescending?

    Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia often live in an altered reality. Using “therapeutic fibbing” to validate their perceptions and feelings is the kindest, most respectful way to handle confusion, hallucinations and delusions.

    122 Comments
  • How to Handle Alzheimer’s Aggression

    One of the biggest challenges for dementia caregivers is dealing with anger and aggression. Understanding how and why these behaviors occur can help you defuse them.

    36 Comments
  • Dementia Behavior Can Seem Like Manipulation

    When a parent with dementia begins acting childlike or deceitful, it is sometimes assumed they are being manipulative because their behavior is just so outrageous. The fact is that most seniors with dementia aren't capable of truly manipulative behavior.

    54 Comments
  • Confabulation in Dementia Can Feel Like Hurtful Lies

    Memory loss is a hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, but neurological damage can also cause patients to make up hurtful stories and level false accusations toward their caregivers.

    160 Comments
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