Get rid of difficult dementia behaviors [what you need to know]

Uncategorized Jan 26, 2021

Welcome back, Careblazer. How would you like to get to the bottom of any difficult dementia behavior? I thought you might like that. 

If you would rather watch a video from Dr. Natali on this topic, click here.

Now in a lot of my content, I’ve shared practical strategies and tips for responding to difficult dementia behaviors. Basically, how you can respond to difficult behaviors after they’ve occurred so they don’t get worse. I’m linking a playlist I’ve put together with some of those videos below so you can get a refresher if you need it. 


But today, I want to talk about getting to the bottom of the behavior. Rather than trying to stop the behavior, it’s about trying to figure out what’s causing it so it doesn’t happen again. In this way, rather than constantly responding to every behavior as they happen, you have the chance to get ahead of the behavior and possibly prevent it from happening all together. It’s something I like to refer to as "putting on your detective hat" and I go over this in detail inside my mini booster series. But for those of you who haven’t joined that program, I’m not sure why you haven’t, but I’m going to share a special document/worksheet that can help get you started in the right direction. This is the first video in a 2 part series and  You can download your the free worksheet to help you here.


Okay, here we go. 


For the next month, here’s what you can do. Take out this worksheet that I put together and I want you to document your observations. Gathering this information will help you put the puzzle together and give you clues about what is setting off your loved one’s behavior.


Let’s take a look at the worksheet. 


You want to write down the exact behavior that you find challenging and what was happening at the time


What was your LOWD doing?

Be specific and factual, not just "yelling at the top of their lungs". Instead say "yelling that the  neighbor is spying on them", for example, or "yelling at the tv and throwing the remote control". 


Who was around? 

Write down anyone who was around at the time this happened. It could just be you or you and your kids or anyone else in the home at the time this occurred. 


Where did it happen? 

What was the physical location that this happened? Instead of saying "at home" or "at the store", you would say "in the living room" or "in the checkout line". 


When did it happen? 

What was the time and day this happened?


Okay, that’s the start. You’ve gathered detailed information about the behavior. It’s detailed enough so that someone else can read it and be able to picture exactly what it was that your loved one said and did. 


Next, you want to back it up a bit. You want to look at what happened just BEFORE the behavior. This is very important. We call it the antecedent. 


Write down anything you can remember about what was said or what was being done just before the behavior. You want to include information about what your loved one said and was doing and about what you or anyone else in the room said or was doing. For example, perhaps you walked into the living room while your loved one was watching TV and opened the curtains a bit to let some light in when he started yelling that the neighbor was spying and threw the remote. Again, whatever was happening before the behavior actually occurred. 


Thirdly, you want to write down what happened immediately after the behavior. 

What did your loved one do or say. What did you do or say and how did your loved one respond to that? 


Using this approach, you can start to look at the behavior more objectively, more factually and less with the emotional component that makes it so difficult to see things as they are. You truly become a detective who when they see a crime scene, they start to piece the puzzles together and ask what happened here. Of course, you will still have your emotional reaction, but as soon as you can, you want to take out this paper or take out your notebook to go through these steps. 


In some cases, you may put the pieces together pretty quickly. Like in this case, you may avoid opening up the curtains when he is in the living room. Perhaps that’s the trigger. But for some of those more difficult behaviors, I’ll share with you the way to start digging into your detective work in next week’s video. For now, start gathering the information.


For those of you who may be feeling like this is too much work, just be totally honest with yourself if what you are currently doing is also not too much work. Wouldn’t it be totally worth a few extra minutes to jot down these details if it meant reducing or stopping some difficult dementia behavior. In the end, it actually saves you time and your sanity. 


Again, you can download this worksheet here and I hope you’ll give this a try for the next 4 weeks. I’d love to hear what you discover using this approach. Leave a comment below and let me know. 


ALSO, for the first time ever, I'm offering a sneak peek into my Care Course. This is my signature program that walks you through the steps to help you feel less overwhelmed in caregiving and helps you prepare for difficult caregiving moments.  I’m offering temporary 2 weeks access to the first lessons of the course so you can get a feel of how it can help you. I’ve never done this before. Click here if you would like to check it out. So much good stuff here Careblazer. 


See you next week! 


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