Coping With Difficult Behavior - Autumn Leaves

For more information call (888) 662-8886

resources for seniors, caregivers, and professionals

Coping With Difficult Behavior


As Alzheimer’s and other dementias progress, behaviors change. Some behaviors — such as agitation and aggression — can pose very difficult challenges for caregivers. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia may shout, curse or become verbally abusive. They may begin hitting or pushing. Others suffer from feelings of anxiety or agitation and may become restless and move around and pace.

What can you do? The Alzheimer’s Association offers these quick tips for responding to difficult behaviors:

1. Remain patient, flexible, and calm. As best you can, be positive and reassuring.
2. Determine whether the person might be acting out due to physical pain or discomfort, and if so, try to correct that as soon as possible.
3. Respond to the emotion, not the behavior.
4. Don’t argue or try to convince. It won’t work and it might further provoke the person.
5. Try re-directing the person to another activity.
6. Acknowledge requests and respond to them.
7. Look for reasons behind each behavior. An over-stimulating or unfamiliar environment, for example, might be the trigger.
8. Consult a physician if medications may be contributing to the problem.
9. Don’t take the behavior personally. Your loved one is not acting this way on purpose.
10. Get support. Share your experience with others. Look into options, such as respite care or day stay, to give yourself a break from time to time.

At Autumn Leaves, our communities are designed specifically to help minimize difficult behaviors like agitation or aggression. Soothing color palettes for décor help calm residents. Each hallway is designed with its own motif, making it easier for residents to find their way; this helps avoid confusion that can lead to agitation. A daily schedule of meals and activities provides a sense of familiarity and safety and helps keep residents active during the day, which can reduce agitation or restlessness. In addition, our caregivers are trained to respond to challenging behavior appropriately, so as to help calm the resident and avoid escalating his or her anxiety.

Autumn Leaves is a Registered Trademark of J&M Family Management, LLC.
©J&M Family Management, LLC