Understanding Dementia-Related Behavioral Changes at Different Ages and Stages
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Understanding Dementia-Related Behavioral Changes at Different Ages and Stages

As dementia progresses, symptoms relating to memory loss and cognitive impairments may interfere with daily activities. As a loved one's behavior begins to change, so does the role of the caregiver.

Senior Helpers Fort Smith is a leading industry expert in dementia care and can help create a customized home care plan to meet the changing needs of an elderly parent or relative. This guide will help identify the types of behavior to expect from a loved one at different stages of dementia and how best to respond.

Recognizing Changes in Behavior and Communication

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 90% of primary care physicians claim it is difficult to determine where mild cognitive impairment ends and dementia begins. Being able to recognize changes in behavior can help caregivers better understand the needs of their loved one.

In the early stages of dementia, most people over 65 can function independently, participating in daily activities such as shopping, bathing, driving, and social functions. While minimal supervision is required, it is still important to address safety risks in the household, helping to eliminate stressful situations and checking in regularly to ensure the person with dementia is comfortable and feeling purposeful.

Understanding Specific Challenges

As the symptoms of dementia increase, loved ones may start to have difficulty performing tasks, such as:

  • Remembering the right word or name for something
  • Managing work or actively participating in social settings
  • Comprehending something that was just read
  • Misplacing valuable items
  • Organizing or planning things that used to come easily to them

Over time, the issues may become more pronounced, and a loved one may become increasingly angry or frustrated. Typically at this point, assistance with daily chores becomes prevalent, and it becomes harder to manage the day-to-day activities on their own. Common behavior changes can include:

  • Forgetting details of personal life and background
  • Social isolation and altered mood
  • Unable to recall information such as an address or telephone number
  • Confusion about the year or date
  • Requiring assistance for selecting seasonally appropriate clothing
  • Difficulty controlling bowel and bladder
  • Trouble maintaining a regular sleep routine, often napping during the day
  • Wandering away from home and getting lost

 At this stage, it is essential to help a loved one find ways to make it easier to participate in daily activities. While more home care may be needed, the person with dementia can still enjoy a thriving lifestyle.

Providing Emotional Support Without Enabling

It is crucial to provide positive praise and encouragement to a person with dementia. Help them participate in things they enjoy doing and develop hobbies together. Avoid harsh criticism and be supportive without enabling by taking the following steps:

  1. Respect their feelings and recognize what they are trying to express
  2. Show compassion and empathy to provide a sense of security
  3. Redirect negative conversations to avoid dwelling on things that can be upsetting
  4. Try to live in the moment and not worry about the future
  5. Make sure their needs are being met and not the source of their frustration

Senior Helpers Can Help

Senior Helpers Fort Smith supports families of loved ones living with dementia. Our experienced team takes a caring approach to home care, providing compassionate and individual support to create a positive environment where senior clients can continue living a purposeful life at home.

Contact us to discuss the personal needs of a loved one residing in Ozark, Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, and Scott counties.