Behaviour that challenges - understanding and coping


The changes that take place in the brain of a person with dementia can affect not just their memory – it can also affect their mood, personality and behaviour.

There can be many reasons why a person with dementia’s behaviour changes. It may be a direct result of the changes in the brain caused by the dementia, or it could be due to other factors, such as frustration at no longer being able to carry out tasks, depression, feeling unwell, or being unable to express pain.

These behavioural changes, which are often completely out of character, can be extremely distressing and difficult for people to cope with. This information sheet is aimed at partners, relatives and friends of people with dementia who may be struggling to understand what is happening to the person they care about. It may also be useful for staff in care settings.

It can help to try to understand why the person with dementia is behaving in a particular way. This may help to avoid what is causing the behaviour or assist in managing behaviour that challenges.

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