This section is relevant to health and social care staff
Information about changes in behaviour and positive strategies for dealing with them
Behaviour changes are a massive issue for carers of people with dementia, as the dementia progresses new and more difficult behaviours can emerge. Ongoing information, advice and training is important to enable carers to put strategies in place to improve the situation. In addition, recognising the emotional impact these behaviour changes have on carers and ensuring carers have the opportunity to talk about them is crucial.
I loved my mum more than words can ever express but dementia could turn her and me into monsters that I didn’t recognise.
Some carers will prefer to be equipped early on for any possible behaviour change, where for others they will prefer to receive information as and when behaviour starts to change.
Identifying common behaviour problems, “sundowning” for example and preparing carers for these may prevent carer breakdown.
Advice and support in managing changing behaviour
In the latter stages of dementia carers can find themselves ill-equipped to deal with agitated and aggressive behaviours that can develop (including difficult sexual behaviour), carers may feel embarrassed, angry or frightened. Carers say they value support, advice and information from professionals on how to manage these issues, and keep themselves and the person with dementia safe.
Carers can be fearful and embarrassed to bring up the subject of difficult behaviours, wrongly assuming they will be judged badly if they are not managing. Professionals can therefore play an important role by approaching the subject and reassuring the carer, offering strategies, extra support and referring to training or support groups.
Information about night care
Providing care at night and having to manage frequent night time disturbances can leave carers exhausted, making it more difficult to cope generally. Professionals can help by exploring the options of night time services with carers, this could include the consideration of personal budgets, NHS Continuing Care, and in some areas Admiral Nurses.
Caring for someone with dementia can be a long term task and for carers to continue caring at home they need to be able to keep themselves well, having disturbed nights will inevitably put extra pressure on the carer’s health and wellbeing and without support may result in a crisis or breakdown in the caring relationship.