During a recent presentation, I realized that some caregivers believe that their loved ones living with dementia can control their “behaviors”. They also sometimes think that they do whatever it is on purpose. The word “behaviors” sounds negative and is a word that I don’t love using, however it is describing those actions that are out of the ordinary for your loved one (crying, aggression, wandering, pacing, repetition, clinging, amongst other things). While these “behaviors” are not necessarily abnormal, if it’s a change in the way our loved one usually is then it can be concerning and sometimes scary. Just to clarify, they are not doing any of this on purpose-our loved ones cannot help it. They are trying to communicate something to us, there is a reason behind what they are doing. They could be scared, confused, in pain, hot, cold, upset, bored, maybe they have to go to the bathroom, maybe their brain is simply stuck or it could be many other things. Their brain is broken, it’s not just their memory. This can be difficult to understand especially when it’s so hard for us to believe this is happening to our loved one. It’s natural to get frustrated and lose your patience, so if that’s how you are feeling, it’s ok. You are doing a great job so don’t be down on yourself. You are not alone.
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