Understanding Dementia Behaviors

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, the diagnosis affects the person’s entire family. As the caregiver for someone with dementia, you’ve likely experienced the frustration and difficulty that so commonly accompanies this condition. You may have also found yourself feeling overwhelmed and wondering if you’re doing the right thing. 

The team at our Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) have extensive experience caring for people with dementia. Our Tapestries memory care neighborhood is specially designed to ensure that residents with dementia have access to the care and social interaction they need, while being as comfortable as possible. We’ve put together a list of common behaviors you may encounter while caring for your loved one with dementia, in hopes that it might make your caregiving experience a little easier.


People with dementia often wander. It can seem as if they’re looking for something, but they aren’t able to recall what it is they’re looking for or how they got where they are. When people wander they are often trying to fulfill a need: they may be hungry, they may need a glass of water, or they may need to use the bathroom, but they’re unable to express their needs.

When you’re caring for a loved one at home, wandering can be scary, especially if they wander out the front door. We recommend installing a home security system, door sensors, or even child-proof covers over doorknobs to keep everyone safe. 

If your loved one is mobile, taking daily walks together can help reduce their feeling of restlessness.

Loss of bladder and bowel control

As your loved one’s dementia progresses, they’re likely to experience incontinence. It may happen because they can’t find the bathroom in time, or it may happen because they forget they need to go. Incontinence can make your loved one feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, but assure them that there’s nothing to worry about. We recommend establishing a daily bathroom routine to help them remember, and using adult incontinence pads in case of emergencies. Also, be conscious of when and how much water your loved one drinks. For example, you don’t want them to drink water excessively right before bed time.

Agitation and frustration

Imagine how frustrating it would be if you couldn’t rely on your own memory, or if you found yourself unable to remember basic information. It’s understandable that people with dementia can feel frustrated and act out in agitation. There are several ways you can help them alleviate these feelings:

  • Create a daily routine and stick with it. Forming new routines and new patterns is often beneficial to people with dementia.
  • Reduce their intake of substances that cause their energy to spike, like caffeine and sugar. 
  • Be gentle with your words and your touch. Don’t try to hold your loved one down, and don’t raise your voice. Instead, talk to them gently and offer them reassurance that they’re safe.

Memory care in Sussex County New Jersey

UMC at Bristol Glen’s Tapestries memory care program in Sussex County, New Jersey, is a state-of-the-art memory care neighborhood for people with dementia. Whether your loved one has just been diagnosed or you’ve been caring for them at home for several years, when you move them to UMC at Bristol Glen you can rest assured that they will be cared for around the clock by our multidisciplinary team.All Tapestries residents are supported with medication assistance, 24/7 health monitoring, and emotional and spiritual support all in a secure setting.  

For more information about UMC at Bristol Glen, or if you have any questions about our Tapestries memory care neighborhood, please contact our team today.

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    205 Jumping Brook Road
    Neptune, NJ 07753
    Phone: 732-922-9800