• Peter Gathercole

Distress behaviour and dementia ¦ You be the detective.

As dementia develops, it can cause behaviour changes that can be confusing, irritating or difficult for others to deal with, leaving carers, partners and family members feeling stressed, irritable or helpless. By learning to understand the meaning behind the actions, it can be easier to stay calm and deal effectively with the challenges that arise. When this is so, it is up to you to become the DETECTIVE . Your ability to understand and read the situation by use of good communication tools and the ability to read body language. Can help you understand and recognise the build up to the distress that the person has which is causing the behaviour being displayed.

Often we look at behaviour as a challenge rather than look at the cause of the distress, establishing why someone is distressed will help us formulate the correct response in reducing the distress the person may have. Like any good detective you are gathering the facts, assessing the information, evaluating the evidence and planning your response. You can ask some key questions to ascertain the cause of the behaviour.

Suggested questions you could ask as the detective are. Is this a new Behaviour? Does the Behaviour pose danger for the resident or others? Whom is it really a problem for? Resident? Staff? Family? Look at each Behaviour as a separate challenge. When did the Behaviour start? Once you establish some of the answer's you can then begin to formulate strategies in which staff can use to aid the person in reducing the stress that has caused the behaviour.

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