Looking to become a Helper? Click here

A dependable support community you can trust

Managing Behavioral Changes in Dementia

Aged Care

Updated 25-01-2024

Managing Behavioral Changes in Dementia

Dementia is a progressive neurological condition that affects millions of individuals across the globe, with a significant impact on Australian communities. Among the most challenging aspects of dementia are the behavioral changes that often accompany the decline in cognitive function. These changes can be distressing for both the individual with dementia and their loved ones, caregivers, and healthcare professionals involved in their care. Understanding and managing these behavioral changes is crucial for promoting a high quality of life and ensuring the well-being of all parties involved. Here, we delve into strategies and approaches to effectively manage behavioral changes associated with dementia.

Recognising Behavioral Changes in Dementia

Behavioral changes in dementia can manifest in various forms, ranging from agitation, aggression, and restlessness to apathy, depression, and social withdrawal. Recognising these changes early is paramount in addressing them effectively. It's not uncommon for individuals with dementia to exhibit:

  • Repetitive questioning or behaviours
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Wandering or pacing
  • Verbal or physical aggression
  • Delusions and paranoia

Each symptom requires a nuanced understanding of the underlying causes and triggers to manage effectively.

Assessing the Root Causes of Behavioral Changes

Prior to managing the behavioural alterations, an initial assessment to identify potential triggers or causes is essential. This can involve:

  • Pain or physical discomfort
  • Environmental factors such as noise, light, or lack of routine
  • Emotional stress or psychological distress
  • Communication difficulties
  • Medication effects or interactions

An in-depth assessment with healthcare professionals can illuminate the origins of behavioural shifts, thereby providing a guide towards the most appropriate interventions.

Personalised Care Planning

When addressing behavioral issues in dementia, a one-size-fits-all approach is generally ineffective. Personalised care plans are crucial and should take into account the individual's:

  • Personal history and background
  • Preferences, dislikes, and customary routines
  • Physical health and current abilities
  • Environmental factors and social context

Care plans should be developed collaboratively with the person with dementia (as much as possible), family members, and healthcare professionals.

Non-Pharmacological Interventions

Non-pharmacological strategies are often the first line of defence in managing behavioural changes. Such strategies include:

Environmental Modifications

Creating a calm, safe, and supportive environment can help prevent or reduce behavioural issues. This may involve:

  • Simplifying the layout of the living space to reduce confusion and falls
  • Using visual cues and signage to assist with navigation
  • Ensuring adequate lighting and minimising noise

Therapeutic Activities

Engaging the individual with dementia in activities that are meaningful to them can promote wellbeing and reduce problematic behaviors. Activities might include:

  • Music therapy, which can have a soothing effect and trigger positive memories
  • Art therapy, allowing non-verbal expression of emotions
  • Gardening or pet therapy, which can provide comfort and a sense of purpose

Behavioural Therapies

Behavioural therapies can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioural techniques to manage distress
  • Validation therapy, which involves acknowledging and empathising with the person's feelings
  • Reality orientation, helping the individual maintain awareness of their surroundings

Medication Management

Sometimes, medications may be required to manage behavioural symptoms in dementia. However, this should be considered only when non-pharmacological approaches have been insufficient, and should always be regularly reviewed due to potential side effects. Antipsychotic medication can be utilised in extreme cases of agitation or aggression but under strict medical supervision.

Support for Caregivers

Caregivers play a vital role in managing behavioral changes in dementia. Providing them with education, resources, and support is critical. This might include:

  • Caregiver training courses on dementia care strategies
  • Support groups for emotional support and advice
  • Respite care services to allow caregivers to rest and recharge

Conclusion

Managing behavioral changes in dementia is a complex and often challenging journey that requires patience, understanding, and a tailored approach. By focusing on personalised interventions, employing non-pharmacological therapies, considering medication when necessary, and supporting caregivers, we can improve the quality of life for those living with dementia. It is a collaborative effort that underscores the importance of comprehensive and empathetic care in the lives of individuals affected by this condition.

About the Author

Olivia is a seasoned professional with an extensive career spanning the Aged Care sector, bringing decades of experience to her role. Her comprehensive understanding of Aged Care services and practices is a testament to her dedication. Olivia’s gratitude extends to those who have generously shared their knowledge and insights with her over the years, contributing to her wealth of expertise.

Olivia’s articles reflect her commitment to practical and informative content. They skillfully combine her industry know-how with real-world insights, providing valuable resources for navigating the complexities of the Aged Care sector. Olivia stands as a reliable advocate for delivering compassionate and effective care to elderly individuals, offering her support not only to fellow care workers and professionals but also to those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the sector.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Examples of Care and Support in Aged Care?

The landscape of aged care is one that is constantly evolving, with the emphasis on not only extending the lives of the elderly but ensuring these years are lived with dignity, respect, and fulfilm... read more

What Are Support Needs in Aged Care?

As people age, they often require additional support and assistance to maintain their quality of life and meet their health and welfare needs. Understanding what constitutes support needs in aged c... read more

What Are the Three Main Categories of Assistance in Aged Care?

Aged care assistance is categorized broadly into three main areas: personal care, medical care, and lifestyle and emotional support. These encompass an array of services designed to meet the divers... read more

What Are Three 3 Examples of Activities of Living in Aged Care?

As we reach our golden years, the ease with which we once completed our daily activities can diminish. Ageing can lead to a reduction in strength, mobility, and cognitive abilities, necessitating a... read more

What Does a Care Worker Do in Aged Care?

In the era of an aging population, aged care remains a critical sector in the provision of comprehensive support services. A care worker in this field performs a multi-faceted role, aimed at enhanc... read more

Why Choose Kinder Caring for Your Home Care Needs?

Contact us today to discover how our personalised care plans can make a significant difference in your life, upholding our commitment to care and compassion.

A dependable support community you can trust

Tradition of Trust & Excellence

At Kinder Caring, we stand as guardians of a 25-year heritage, offering top-notch home care services. Our deep understanding and vast experience make us an ideal choice for those seeking excellence in community care.

A dependable support community you can trust

Tailored Care for Your Lifestyle

We specialise in creating personalised care plans, understanding each client’s unique needs. Our Care Managers ensure every care aspect is bespoke, valuing each individual’s distinct preferences and requirements.

A dependable support community you can trust

Empowering Your Choice

Kinder Caring respects your decision-making freedom. Choose between our in-house experts or skilled independent contractors for care that perfectly fits your lifestyle, providing genuine flexibility.

A dependable support community you can trust

Decades of Service

Over 25 years, Kinder Caring has dedicated over 2.5 million hours to supporting more than 7,400 individuals, reflecting our commitment to impactful, high-quality care.

A dependable support community you can trust

A Community of Professionals

Our team, chosen for skill and compassion, forms the backbone of Kinder Caring. We focus on building a strong, caring team committed to your comfort and well-being.

A dependable support community you can trust

Accreditation & Improvement

Kinder Caring’s adherence to the ACIS and investment in ongoing staff development reflect our commitment to providing care that meets the highest quality and contemporary standards.

A dependable support community you can trust

Building Trusted Relationships

We’re more than care providers; we’re partners in your health journey. With a widespread network and collaborations with funding organisations, we offer accessible, superior care across NSW, QLD & VIC.

A dependable support community you can trust

Join the Kinder Caring Family

Choosing Kinder Caring means joining a family dedicated to your independence and well-being. Be part of our 25-year journey, continuing our legacy of impactful, caring service.

Our happy clients

Bridging the gap between you and an enhanced quality of life, Kinder Caring is committed to nurturing your independence, and delivering compassionate care in the comfort of your home.

A dependable support community you can trust

We’re immensely grateful for Kinder Caring’s assistance over the past months. A special shoutout to Nicole Coupland, who has been an exceptional carer for Mum. Thank you for your unwavering support.

- Carolina,
Willoughby, NSW
A dependable support community you can trust

We are so pleased with the care Dad has been receiving from Kinder Caring, especially from Aster. She has shown professionalism and dedication. We appreciate the company’s flexibility in accommodating our requests, like Aster wearing a mask and gloves. The temporary rail adjustments and the proactive approach in ensuring the best care for Dad is commendable. Thank you, Kinder Caring.

- Karin,
Kealba, VIC
A dependable support community you can trust

Kinder Caring has been exceptional in their service. They provided a wonderful carer who is exceptional at what she does. Not only did they promptly get my quote approved, but they also took care of my window cleaning needs and organized transportation for my medical appointments. I couldn’t be happier!

- Maria,
Melton, VIC
A dependable support community you can trust

There was so much more to caring for Dad than we ever thought. Kinder Caring provided everything we needed to support us; they became part of our family… they made a difficult time so much easier for us.

- FIONA,
Lindfield NSW
A dependable support community you can trust

A huge thank you to all the nurses at Kinder Caring. Having your expertise, caring attitude and ongoing advice meant we did not have to place Dad into a nursing home or send him to hospital and therefore his last days spent with Mum and the family were very special for us all.

- JOHN,
Mt Waverley Vic

Experience Exceptional Home Care with Kinder Caring!

Unlock 25 Years of Trusted Expertise: 2,500,000+ Hours of Dedicated Care delivered to 7,400+ people from 560,000+ Personalised Services

Your Journey to Peace of Mind Starts Here. Contact Us Today!

1300 796 675