Your Essential Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors

May 15, 2022 | Memory Support
Affectionate caring hands of millennial female or teen keeping stroking palm of aged grandma or mother

A person living with dementia can exhibit many different behaviors during their memory care journey. Because the brain is a unique organ that can be affected in many ways, no two people will respond to dementia in the same way. However, some recognizable behaviors are important to understand and recognize. These dementia behaviors can range from sleeplessness and insomnia to agitation and even depression.

Astral at Auburn provides compassionate and expert care to residents in our memory care community. Our dedicated team is here to help you through every step of your dementia care journey.

Common Dementia Behaviors

Dementia can lead to many different outcomes. The most common and perhaps recognizable symptom of dementia is memory loss. However, there are many more changes that can occur. 

Some people may experience sudden and dramatic changes in their personalities. For a family member providing dementia care, this can often become one of the most challenging aspects of memory support. 

Whether it is unexpected or not, a person living with dementia can experience many different shifts in behaviors. For example, they might suddenly become increasingly dependent upon you, not wanting you to leave, but become agitated and scream at you in the next moment.

A person living with dementia may also experience physical changes such as impacting one or more of their senses (smell, taste, touch, etc.), an increase in sleeplessness and insomnia, and dramatic shifts in energy levels. 

If you provide dementia care for someone you love, remember that while you may be witnessing stark changes in the person you have known and loved for years, these are not changes in their character. Rather, they are irreversible changes to the brain.  

It can often become stressful and overwhelming when your loved one suddenly changes and exhibits new behaviors. However, by remaining flexible, patient, and compassionate, you can help them navigate these changes with grace and dignity.

Sleeplessness and Insomnia

For a person living with dementia, changes to the brain can dramatically affect energy levels and sleep patterns. Unfortunately, this might prevent the person from getting adequate rest at night.

Insomnia can be caused by several factors, including increased stress and agitation, lack of exercise and poor diet. In addition, a recent study shows a possible connection between excessive daytime napping and dementia. 

By providing your family member with a consistent daily routine, you can help ensure that they maintain the proper levels of exercise and engagement while keeping them on a sleep schedule that works best for them. Here are some ways to establish a routine that encourages a positive sleep schedule.

  • Establish a daily wake-up routine at the same time each day
  • Go outside whenever the weather permits
  • Make daily exercise a part of everyday life
  • Make activities meaningful and filled with purpose
  • Schedule consistent mealtimes and include fresh foods that boost brain health
  • Avoid bright lights and screens (TV, phone, tablet, etc.) at night
  • Practice a nighttime routine at the same time each evening

Despite making an effective daily routine and encouraging better sleep, you may find that your loved one continues to struggle in this area. If this is the case, contact their primary care provider for more guidance and information. 

Loneliness and Depression

Another common dementia behavior is exhibiting loneliness and depression. Unfortunately, many people living with dementia experience this daily.

Although some people enjoy solitude during the day, loneliness can stem from a lack of purpose. In this case, a person can feel lonely even with a full schedule of activities and engagement. 

At Astral at Auburn, we work each day to ensure residents live with purpose and vitality. We understand that enrichment activities should be much more than activities made “to pass the time.” We create meaningful opportunities for residents to experience purpose, fulfillment, and joy in everyday life based on this belief.

If your family member or loved one exhibits signs of loneliness or depression or begins to withdraw from their friends and family, it’s important to take action. Memory care communities offer the care, support and attention individuals living with dementia need to find success and purpose. 

At Astral at Auburn, we approach memory care by looking at the entire person. We understand that their behaviors are often a product of their brain changes, and we offer continuous support and compassionate care.  

Visit our website today to learn more about our memory care community in Auburn, Indiana.


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