Wednesday Workshop ~ How to Manage Escalating Behaviors

Wednesday Workshop ~ How to Manage Escalating Behaviors

Good morning and welcome to today’s Wednesday Workshop.  Today I am going to share some tips on how to manage escalating behaviors, which can be very challenging for family caregivers.There are specific techniques that are designed to calm down the person with Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological disorder, whose behavior can escalate and even become dangerous.

  • First, back off from the individual. Avoid being close enough to be hit, or physically harmed.
  • Control personal anxiety by taking several slow deep breaths before speaking – quietly county to ten.
  • Control nonverbal communication including facial expression and muscle tone.
  • Quietly validate the behaviors that are being displayed. For example, you might say: “I can see you are upset. Can we have a cup of coffee together while you tell me what is bothering you.”
  • As always, try to determine whether the individual is in pain or has another physical need that might be driving agitated behaviors.

Another situation that frequently occurs in caregiving situations is that the person with dementia accuses the caregiver of stealing an object, such as a purse. In this type of situation, you should first avoid putting up a defense. Defending against a false accusation has the same effect as throwing gasoline on a fire. And the person will become increasingly agitated, more difficult to console and could become aggressive. As I mentioned previously, be sure to control your personal anxiety and take deep breaths.  You might also say something such as: “Oh Mom is your person missing again? I know how upset you must be.” (In this way you are validating her feelings). “What was in it? Was there anything really important in that purse? When did you see it last? Let me help you find it.”  If the caregiver begins to look for the purse and starts to talk about other topics, which is a form of redirection, and can you maintain this banter for 5 minutes or more, the person with Alzheimer’s will most likely forget the accusation. If you would like more information, please visit our website at or call the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center at (561) 588-4545. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we will see you again next week.

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