Lesson Outline

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
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • 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?