How to Cope with Personality & Behavior Changes

To continue our series on Challenge #2, Changes in Personality & Behavior, here are some ways to cope with personality and behavioral changes:

 Here are some ways to cope with changes in personality and behavior:

  • Keep things simple. Ask or say one thing at a time.
  • Have a daily routine, so the person knows when certain things will happen.
  • Reassure the person that he or she is safe and you are there to help.
  • Focus on his or her feelings rather than words. For example, say, “You seem worried”.
  • Don’t argue or try to reason with the person
  • Try not to show your anger or frustration. Step back. Take deep breaths, and count to 10. If safe, leave the room for a few minutes.
  • Use humor when you can.
  • Give people who pace a lot a safe place to walk. Provide comfortable, sturdy shoes. Give them light snacks to eat as they walk, so they don’t lose too much weight, and make sure they have enough to drink.

Use distractions:

  • Try using music, singing, or dancing to distract the person.
  • Ask for help. You might say, “Let’s set the table”; “It’s time to go for our walk”; or “I really need help folding the clothes”.

Other Ideas:

  • Enroll the person in the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program. If people with Alzheimer’s disease wander away from home, this program and will help to get them home safely.
  • Talk to the doctor about any serious behavior or emotional problems, such as hitting, biting, depression or hallucinations.

Our next post will focus on sleep problems, hallucinations and delusions.

Elayne Forgie, CMC, SRES
ElderCare at Home, Inc