Managing Behaviour Changes

Since dementia changes the brain, it can lead to unexpected or unusual behaviours, such as aggression or repetitive actions.
person sitting outside reading a newspaper

Dementia can sometimes cause unexpected ways that the person expresses themselves.

Changes can occur in the way a person living with dementia communicates verbally and how they express themselves through their behaviour. The inability to regulate mood might also be impacted.

This can cause stress, frustration, and sadness for the people around them. Caring for a person with dementia can be challenging. We often need to make changes and adapt our approach. It’s important to remember that the cause of the behaviours is changes within the brain. The person living with dementia is doing their best to express themselves.

“All behaviour has meaning.”
Dr David Hogan, a local specialist in dementia care

Behaviours happen because of the disease, not because of the person with dementia.

You can improve your knowledge about dementia and enhance communication with the person. These may help you feel less frustrated or sad.

Unwanted behaviours can be triggered by several things, including (but not limited to):

  • The person’s attempts to communicate
  • Too much or too little (noise, distraction, activity level, conversation, etc.)
  • Environmental stimulus (discomfort with places, people, or things)
  • Physical changes (pain, constipation, fatigue)
  • Unmet needs
  • Feeling scared, embarrassed

Behaviour is a form of communication, though you may be unclear about what the person is trying to communicate.

We can help you.

Our team at Alzheimer Calgary can help you navigate challenging behaviours and identify behaviour triggers. We can provide you, your family, and your caregivers with ongoing emotional support.

Education Sessions

Our “Care Partner Strategies” education session provides you with practical strategies.

Other Resources

Alzheimer Society of Canada

This resource discusses the various ways individuals with dementia may express grief, pain, anger, or overwhelm and offers examples to aid in understanding changes in behaviour.

Alzheimer Society of Canada
Visit their Website