Behavioural, Emotional and Psychiatric Symptoms in Dementia
The psychiatric symptoms and behavioural expressions associated with dementia can be particularly distressing for care partners. The behavioural symptoms are often called responsive behaviours as they may be in response to specific situations, interactions with particular people, physical sensations, emotions or unmet needs. The behaviours are the result of changes in the brain that affect memory, judgement, orientation, mood and behaviour.
Many of these signs and symptoms are associated with moderate-to-severe or the advanced stages of dementia and include:
- Anger and emotional fluctuations
- Physical expressions or behaviours
- Repetition speech or behaviours
- Sexual behaviours
There are several non-medication strategies that can help including:
- Avoiding places or situations that cause the behaviours.
- Using distraction as a technique.
- Being aware of body language and tone of voice.
- Having regular schedules and routines.
- Improving sleep.
Your healthcare team can help you to evaluate non-medication strategies as well as the benefits and risks of medications to help with behavioural symptoms.
Learn the answers to the following questions:
What are some of the behavioural, emotional and psychiatric signs and symptoms of dementia?
What are some non-medication strategies to help deal with these behaviours?
What medications can be used to help?
What other resources are available to help manage these behaviours?
Here are some other resources about this topic that you may find helpful after completing this lesson.
Behavioural Symptoms of Dementia
This list of recommendations is designed to help patients, caregivers and healthcare teams develop a care plan for those who are in a hospital or long-term care home and are experiencing behavioural symptoms.View PDF
"I want to go home."
This short video gives practical advice on how to respond when your loved one with dementia says 'I want to go home.'Watch Video
This free app helps to improve your communication and problem solving skills using chat-based role playing. It will help you to manage confict, reduce stress and gain co-operation.View App
Understanding & Managing Responsive Behaviours in Persons with Dementia
Learn how to understand and manage responsive behaviours in persons with dementia with this 45-minute video. This archive presentation of our live event features a 15-minute discussion by our experts followed by 30-minutes of answers to questions posed by viewers.Watch Video
Dementia Talk App
Dementia Talk is a moble app that helps family caregivers and health professionals caring for someone with dementia to respond to challenging behaviours. Developed by Sinai Health System.View App
Dementia and Responsive Behaviours
Discover practical tips on how to use a problem-solving approach to respond to behaviours. Learn strategies to help reduce responsive behaviours such as agitation, wandering, sexual behaviours, hallucinations, and paranoia.Download PDF
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