Caregiving Tips


Understanding and responding to common dementia behaviors

As dementia progresses, those affected often exhibit new behaviors that can be confusing and difficult for family members and caregivers to manage. Understanding why these behaviors occur and responding appropriately promotes better care and reduces stress for all involved. Here are five common dementia behaviors and tips for responding constructively.


What it is: Individuals with dementia may experience agitation, restlessness, or even aggressive behavior stemming from an unmet need, frustration over inability to communicate, overstimulation, or fear.
How to respond: Reduce noise and distractions, speak in a calm tone, and provide reassurance to help de-escalate agitation. Identify and address potential triggers.


What it is: The tendency to wander and become lost or disoriented is dangerous but driven by the need for mental stimulation or released energy.
How to respond: Focus on prevention through home safety measures like installed alarms and secured entrances. Provide structured activities to channel restlessness.


What it is: Increased confusion, anxiety, aggression, pacing, or disorientation later in the day is termed "sundowning."
How to respond: Reduce shadows and noise, maintain a predictable routine, and carefully plan activities earlier when the person is more grounded.


What it is: Dementia can cause suspicion, delusions like believing someone is stealing from them, or accusing caregivers of being imposters.
How to respond: Don't argue with paranoid claims. Instead, respond in a reassuring tone, provide distractions, and minimize belongings that could spark accusations.

Repetitive behaviors

What it is: Those with dementia may repeat the same questions or stories over and over, continually perform tasks like re-arranging items, or undo what others have done. This stems from memory loss and is a way to find familiarity.
How to respond: React calmly, don't argue, and provide reassurance. Introduce activities that allow repetition in a contained and harmless manner.

Consistent responses to these dementia-induced patterns from family members and caregivers, and creating an environment adapted for the person's stage of dementia can reduce distressing behaviors.

Wellthy’s team of care experts support families in navigating care during all stages of life and health conditions, including dementia. Get 1:1 guidance from a Care Coordinator by opening a Care Project today - or set one up today so it’s there for you in the future.