Behavior is Communication

In dementia, when language and logic are failing, behavior communicates comfort and distress.

Yelling in the middle of the night might be communicating many things:

“Where am I?”
“My hips hurt.”
“I’m afraid.”
“I’m cold.”

Behavior is a two-way street. Keep it slow. Keep it simple. Keep it kind.

Asking a person with dementia “How was breakfast today?” may cause discomfort and embarrassment. It takes them out of the present into a past they may not recall. Meeting them in the here and now with a comment like, “Your shirt is bright pink, I like it.” can prevent distress and bring joy.

For more information contact Dr. Leslie Estep, Dr. Anita Meyer, or Dr. Erika Pope at Hospice of the Northwest, 360-814-5550, or, or

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