Strategies for Coping with Your Loved One's Changing Behavior

Tips for managing your loved one's roller-coaster behavior.

More common than not, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit a roller-coaster of behaviors. Someone who was calm or engaged in an activity one minute may exhibit agitation or disinterest the next. Triggers often include external factors, such as excessive noise or a change in routine, and internal factors, like hunger or pain.

For caregivers, these ups-and-downs can be quite challenging—especially when they emerge out of the blue. What can caregivers do?

In general, here are some coping strategies:

• Hold to the same routine as much as possible.

• Adjust the environment.

• Distract the person to a positive activity.

• Promote a sense of security with smiles, a gentle touch and a soothing voice.

• Maintain a calm manner even when the individual becomes aggressive or agitated. This can defuse a tense situation and help reduce a person's fears.

Find tips on dealing with specific behavior problems at the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

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