Caregiver Strategies To Help With Common Dementia Behaviors

As seniors age, they likely require more attention and care. Whether it is assistance with personal care, companionship, or homemaking, seniors may need extra help to stay healthy, happy, and fit. 

For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, simple tasks may become difficult or impossible to do.These unique conditions require specialized care that allows the senior to remain safe and happy. 

Seniors with dementia exhibit behaviors that may seem confusing or inexplicable- and many of those behaviors can be overlooked as symptoms of dementia because they vary from person to person. 

Below are common symptoms of dementia. Please note that these are some but not all symptoms. Speak with your loved one's doctor if they are exhibiting any of these symptoms.

7 Common Symptoms of Dementia


Individuals with dementia can become confused and easily disoriented when they wander outside of the home, even if they have spent many years in the same neighborhood. Wandering can be one of the most frightening and dangerous dementia symptoms.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Consider “escape proofing” your home if you are worried that your senior loved one is no longer safe to be outdoors alone. Installing locks, security cameras, and door monitors can help you feel more secure about safety. 


Individuals with dementia may have difficulty sleeping at normal hours, or at all. Sleeplessness is a symptom of dementia, but the specific cause is unknown.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Maintain a regular sleeping schedule and limit daytime naps
  • Create a peaceful and noise-free bedroom and add blackout curtains if necessary
  • Ensure your loved one has daily movement. This may include taking them outdoors or going for a walk. 
  • Eliminate alcohol and caffeinated beverages
  • Identify any potential sources of pain or medications that cause wakefulness. 


Malnutrition may result in either eating too much or too little. For seniors with dementia, there are many negative consequences of poor nutrition. This includes changes in weight, disorientation, sleeplessness, and bladder or bowel problems.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Eliminate meal time stress by meal prepping and creating list of familiar, easy-to-eat dishes
  • Take a break and eat lunch with your loved one
  • Have two types of snacks readily available: healthier snacks and nutritious high-calorie snacks

Resistance to Bathing

Seniors with dementia may forget certain activities of daily living. Some may not remember to maintain good personal hygiene such as bathing, oral care, toileting and changing their clothes.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Consider adding safeguards and grab bars and to make your loved one feel more safe
  • Consider buying a bath chair so that your loved one is more comfortable and relaxed
  • Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold
  • Ask if they feel uncomfortable getting undressed in front of you or strangers


Seniors with dementia often develop incontinence, or the loss of bladder or bowel control.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Make sure the bathroom is easy to find and use, especially at night. Add night lights or leave the bathroom light on so that your loved one can easily locate it.
  • Create a consistent bathroom schedule and reduce fluid intake before bedtime
  • When they have accidents, try to remain calm and reassuring
  • Provide clothing that is easy to remove. 
  • Consider purchasing incontinence bed pads


Constant repetition of words, phrases or other redundant behaviors can be upsetting for both the caregiver and person with dementia. 

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Avoid saying “you already said that” because it may upset, confusing or anger them
  • Agree with them, provide comfort and reassurance, and try your best to be patient
  • Engage in a new activity like walking or eating
  • Try leaving reminders around the house. Use a large calendar and mark the current date. Leaves notes such as the time of dinner, a family visit, etc. Try to provide visual reminders rather than relying on verbal 
  • Pay attention and recognize common repetitive behaviors; they could be trying to communicate an important need. 

Sexual Inappropriateness and Expletives

A side effect of dementia can often lead to older adults mistaking people for someone else, acting out of character, or believing they are someone else completely. As a result, sexual inappropriateness and expletives can be a side effect of these delusions. It is important to recognize that a person with dementia may not be aware of their inappropriate behavior. Sexual inappropriateness and expletives are involuntary and are due to a lack of inhibition from their dementia.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Apologize on your loved one’s behalf to anyone who may have taken offense

Unique Challenges of Dementia Caregivers

Dementia care can be difficult on both the senior and caregiver. Caregivers must be physically, emotionally, and intellectually prepared for all of the challenges associated with dementia caregiving. As a caregiver we must also: 

Stay educated:

  • being knowledgeable and up-to-date about common symptoms, outcomes, and safety protocols will help set expectations of care. It may also lead to better solutions for your caregiving journey.

Take care of yourself:

  • Caregivers may find it difficult to deal with certain behaviors - sometimes our loved one will say hurtful things or forget who we are. Symptoms can be erratic and emotionally straining on us. Remember that self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. By caring for yourself, you also provide your loved one with an optimal level of care.

Contact us today to learn more about our caregiving services and our we can help with your caregiving journey.


Back to all articles