Common Dementia Behaviors

Dementia changes one’s behavior.  The Alzheimer’s Association has prepared some helpful information to use when dealing with behavior changes.

Identify and examine the behavior:

Explore potential solutions:

Try different responses:


Aggressive behaviors may be verbal (shouting, name-calling) or physical (hitting, pushing). These behaviors can occur suddenly, with no apparent reason, or can result from a frustrating situation. Whatever the case, it is important to try to understand what is causing the person to become angry or upset.

How to Respond:

Anxiety or Agitation

A person with Alzheimer’s may feel anxious or agitated. He or she may become restless and need to move around or pace. Or, the person may become upset in certain places or focused on specific details.

How to Respond:


The person with Alzheimer’s may not recognize familiar people, places or things. He or she may forget relationships, call family members by other names or become confused about where home is. The person may also forget the purpose of common items, such as pen or fork. These situations are difficult for caregivers and require much patience and understanding.

How to respond:


A person with Alzheimer’s may do or say something over and over again—like repeating a word, question or activity. In most cases, he or she is probably looking for comfort, security and familiarity. The person may also pace or undo what has just been finished. These actions are rarely harmful to the person with Alzheimer’s but can be stressful for the caregiver.

How to respond:


Memory loss and confusion may cause the person with Alzheimer’s to perceive things in new, unusual ways. Individuals may become suspicious of those around them. Even accusing others of theft, infidelity or other improper behavior. Sometimes the person may also misinterpret what he or she sees and hears.

How to Respond:


It’s common for a person with dementia to wander and become lost. In fact, more that 60 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point. They may try to go home when already there or may be attempting to recreate a familiar routine, such as going to school or work.

How to Respond:

Trouble with sleep

People with dementia often can have problems sleeping or may experience changes in their sleep schedules. Scientists don’t completely understand why these sleep disturbances occur. As with changes in memory and behavior, sleep changes somehow result from the impact of Alzheimer’s on the brain.

How to Respond:

For more information, please contact Castle Rock Services at 433-3920 or visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.