Three Step Approach to Identifying Common Behaviors and Their Causes

Having a proven strategy for managing challenging behaviors can improve your success in caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) recommends this three-step approach to identifying common behaviors and their causes:

  1. Identify and examine the behavior
    • What was the behavior? Was it harmful to the individual or others?
    • What happened just before the behavior occurred? Did something trigger it?
    • What happened immediately after the behavior occurred? How did you react?
    • Consult a physician to identify any causes related to medications or illness.
  2. Explore potential solutions
    • What are the needs of the person with dementia? Are they being met?
    • Can adapting the surroundings comfort the person?
    • How can you change your reaction or your approach to the behavior? Are you responding in a calm and supportive way?
  3. Try different responses
    • Did your new response help?
    • Do you need to explore other potential causes and solutions? If so, what can you do differently?

Learn more in the Alzheimer’s Association publication Behaviors: How to Respond When Dementia Causes Unpredictable Behaviors.

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