Coping with Embarrassing Behaviour
We've all had that moment when someone we love suddenly does something that we find embarrassing. We cringe, put them right and hope they learn from the experience and never do it again.
However, for someone who is living with Dementia, the embarrassing behaviour may be something that is repeated on a regular basis regardless of what we say or do! The person may say things that are totally out of character or do things that do not fall into social norms. This can include:
This embarrassing behaviour can happen because the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling inhibitions has been damaged. People living with Dementia may have lost the ability to recognise what are social norms and therefore, act in a way that may offend others without realising what they are doing.
- Bad language
- Inappropriate comments
- Shouting and screaming
- Lack of inhibition e.g. removing clothing
- Acting suspiciously and being suspicious of other people
So how do we cope?
Much of the changes in behaviour are as a result of not being able to communicate how they want to and are expressing their frustrations. So give them time and space - but give yourself time and space too.
- Try to ignore it (although in a social setting this may be difficult to do) but if it isn't affecting other people then ignoring it may be easier than trying to stop it which may cause more problems.
- Distracting the person by changing the conversation or asking an unrelated question can help them forget about what they are saying or doing
- Stay calm and remember that it is the Dementia and not personal
- Move away from the situation if possible and apologise to those around explaining that the behaviour is not typical and that it is a result of Dementia - most people will be understanding
- If you find the behaviour difficult to deal with, then seek advice from a professional