Click HERE to print out plain text version

When A Problem Behavior Occurs

You have used these recommendations, but despite your best efforts, one day your loved one begins to scream at you, doesn't recognize your home, or wanders away. There are some tips for managing these stressful events:

1. Recognize the problem is temporary and will pass.

2. Don't argue with or confront the person. Treat the person as if he/she is frightened. Tell them you understand and intend to help.

3. Get the person to a quiet place where he/she can rest briefly.

4. If it is the middle of the night, try to give them a snack and get them to an easy chair.

5. If the person does not recognize his/her home, try driving them around the block, or reassuring them that this is the place where you will spend the night (implying it is a hotel). Reassure them you will go home tomorrow.

6. Try calling one of the person's children to reassure the patient. Sometimes a call to a family member can be reassuring when all else fails.

7. If the episode does not resolve within an hour or so, contact your physician or take the person to the nearest urgent care center or emergency room. Do not try to get an agitated confused person into your car. Call the paramedics.

8. Do not blame yourself for this episode. These agitated and confused episodes are a normal aspect of the disease. They will occur to even the best of caregivers.

9. Do not become upset if you get angry.

Anger is a natural response to stressful and unpleasant situations. Learning to manage these behaviors is a matter of trial and error. With practice and understanding you will become more skilled.

Supported by: Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation,
National Caregiving Training Project,
University of Iowa College of Nursing,
Gerontology Nursing Intervention Center
Research Development and intervention Core

Developed by: Geri R. Hall, Ph.D., ARNP, CNS
Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale
13400 E. Shea Boulvard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
Phone: 602-301-8111


Hope our logo helps you find your way back to us.

NXBack To As Memory Fades
CABack to Caregiving Index