When a person is living with dementia, behaviors can change over time – or even from day to day. Whether you are providing care within your home or are looking to learn more about the signs to watch for, we have prepared this helpful list of behavior changes that could be due to dementia.
By better understanding dementia behaviors, you will be more prepared if your family member presents one or several of these changes.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, we provide personalized and compassionate dementia care throughout Atlanta, Georgia. With highly-trained team members and the latest methodologies and resources, we are equipped to deliver the highest level of care to our residents who are living with dementia.
Common Dementia Behaviors
The Alzheimer’s Association lists several common behavior changes associated with dementia. However, it is important to remember that the brain is a unique, sensitive organ – and that every brain is different. Therefore, you may find that your family member experiences behaviors that differ from those listed below.
While visiting your loved one (or providing care for a family member), remember that many changes in behavior can be attributed to dementia. It is also critical to understand that these changes are not due to a shift in your family member’s character – rather, they are caused by permanent changes to the makeup of their brain.
Apathy: One of the most common dementia behaviors or changes is apathy and the loss of interest in activities. This can be jarring at first, particularly if your family member suddenly shows no interest in activities that used to be passions for them. For example, maybe your mother was an avid and talented painter, doing so multiple times a week, and now she’s uninterested in the activity. While you may be confused and concerned, remind yourself that these changes are caused by physical changes to the brain.
Paranoia and distrust: Imagine being in an unfamiliar environment where you do not understand the language and do not recognize the people around you. Immediately, someone comes along and takes you somewhere, but you don’t know where you are going, and along the way, they are talking to you in an unfamiliar way.
For many people living with dementia, this is an everyday experience. Each day is a new and unfamiliar environment – which can often lead to paranoia and distrust. When interacting with someone living with dementia, these behaviors can seem abrupt, even frustrating. This is when it is vital that you lead with patience and understanding.
If you are supporting a person living with dementia and they begin to accuse you of things that are untrue, your primary goal is to create a kind and trusting environment for them. This may require you to accept blame and apologize for things you have not actually done – or it may mean calming a family member who has become agitated by using soothing words and gestures.
Indecisiveness: For a person living with dementia, making decisions daily may become a difficult – even impossible – task. Additionally, a decision that they made on a previous day might change completely by the next day or week. You can help your family member by gently guiding them toward decisions and avoiding impatience or frustration if they cannot decide on their own.
A person living with dementia wants to have autonomy and desires a meaningful life filled with purpose and love. That is what they deserve. Whether you are providing compassionate care or spending time with a family member who is living with dementia, it is essential to keep that in mind.
If they cannot decide on an activity – or if their decision changes daily – you can become a key support system for them. You can help lead them toward meaningful encounters and a fuller, more joyful experience by suggesting activities or actions.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, we are committed to providing an environment in which all our residents live where they are loved. With dementia care communities throughout Atlanta, Georgia, we are here to help you and your family receive the help you need on your memory care journey.