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January 14, 2019

Five Tips for Managing Dementia Behaviors that Challenge You

Very often people with dementia can develop a set of behaviors that are downright confounding. These are commonly referred to as challenging behaviors and they’re difficult to find a solution for at first.

Always Start with Compassion

It’s hard to start from a space of compassion when you’re frustrated by repetitive questions, wandering, and agitation, but you’ll cope better if you do. Would your senior act in these ways if she had a choice? The answer when she’s battling dementia is no. This is behavior that she is not able to modify or change because it’s done in response to stimuli.

It’s Impossible to Control the Behavior

Just as it’s impossible for your senior to control this behavior, it’s equally impossible for you to control it. You may not understand the behavior, either, so there’s no effective way for you to exert control over it. The best that you can do is to learn what is behind the behavior and accommodate those needs in hopes that the behavior is no longer necessary for her.

Look for the Triggers

Behind every challenging behavior there’s a trigger. If your senior is wandering or agitated, there’s something behind that action. She might have a need that isn’t met, such as hunger, thirst, or a need for the bathroom. Or she might need to move a little more throughout the day to burn off more energy so that she sleeps better. Try looking beyond the behavior to what might be behind it. This can take some trial and error.

Talk to Her Doctor

Her doctor can help you find some of the shortcuts to what’s going on with your senior’s behavior. Even if something doesn’t seem important, make sure that you mention it and see what advice her doctor can offer for you.

Find Support and Education for Yourself

You also need to educate and find support for yourself. It’s a great idea to hire home care providers. Not only can home care providers help you sort out these behaviors, but they can give you a chance to take respite time. Support groups for caregivers of dementia patients can be a lifesaver, too. Many of those caregivers have been where you are and can point you in the right direction when it comes to figuring all of these challenging behaviors out.

Dementia changes how your senior’s brain works and that means that she’s not going to respond the same way that she used to respond. It’s important that you remember that so that you can also remember to seek out other ways of dealing with these behaviors than you might have tried in the past.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Berwyn IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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