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Posted: October 22, 2021

Learn about behaviour changes associated with dementia

People in the Kootenays affected by dementia continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with changes to routine, increased isolation and disconnection from support networks some of the challenges they may be experiencing.

As a result, many people affected by dementia may be experiencing changes to behaviour. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is offering two upcoming webinars to focus on commonly-experienced behaviours and specific strategies for responding to them.

Focus on behaviour: Targeted strategies for denial, paranoia, anxiety and shadowing takes place on Wednesday, October 20, at 2 p.m. PT. The session overviews these four common behaviours and discusses specific strategies for responding to them.

In another session focusing on behaviours upcoming on Wednesday, October 27, at 3 p.m. MT, participants will learn practical strategies to better understand changes in behaviour and respond in supportive ways.

Register for the webinar here: alzbc.org/webinars.

Tips for responding to changes in behaviour

Finding creative ways of responding to changes in behaviour is a process of trial and error. It can be helpful to keep a journal to record details about the behaviour and any responses you tried. Here are some approaches you can use to respond to a variety of behaviours:

  • Keep it simple:Explain things in simple sentences, breaking tasks down into easy, manageable steps. Keep the person’s routine as simple as possible and allow time for rest.
  • Be creative:Try to think of different memory aids that may help orient the person. If the person repeatedly asks the same questions every day, try posting notes around the house to answer these questions.
  • Focus on feelings:Try to look past the person’s behaviour and consider what they might be feeling. Does the person appear frustrated? A hug or a gentle touch on the arm may calm them down.
  • Connect, don’t correct:As the disease progresses, the person’s thinking abilities change. Your shared reality will also change and feelings will become increasingly more important than facts. Avoid using logic and reasoning or trying to remind the person about something that they have forgotten. Agreeing with the person will ease the frustration for both of you and help prevent the behaviour from escalating.
  • Use distraction:Changing the topic or activity can redirect the person’s focus and allow them to forget about what may have been making them upset or confused. For example, reminiscing with the person about their past can be a positive way of redirecting the person’s focus.

To learn about other topics related to dementia, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. invites you to sign up for the free webinars. Additional upcoming sessions include:

  • Equip yourself: Knowledge and skills to help get the support you need (Wednesday, November 3, 3 p.m. MT): Gain the skills you need to respond to common challenges that families face at key points in the dementia journey such as getting a diagnosis or accessing home support.

To register for any of these webinars, please visit alzbc.org/webinars.

Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo

Alzheimer Society of B.C.

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