What to Do When a Senior with Dementia Screams and Cries

Family caregivers to elderly adults with dementia know how challenging the condition can be. One difficult behavior you may have to deal with is the senior screaming, crying, or calling out for help. Understanding the behavior and what you can do may allow you to better handle it and reduce it.

Why Does the Behavior Happen?

Elderly Care Bellevue TN - What to Do When a Senior with Dementia Screams and Cries

Elderly Care Bellevue TN – What to Do When a Senior with Dementia Screams and Cries

Crying and screaming are more common in certain kinds of dementia, including:

  • Vascular dementia.
  • Frontotemporal dementia.
  • Lewy body dementia.

Sometimes the behavior is worse in the evening hours because of sundowning. Sundowning is common in seniors with dementia and causes challenging behaviors to worsen in the evening. Another thing that can cause crying and screaming is pseudobulbar affect, which causes inappropriate emotional responses that the person cannot explain.

The behavior can also occur because of actual distress. Some things that could trigger it are:

Physical Discomfort: Hunger, pain, restlessness, or having to use the bathroom.

Environmental Causes: Too much noise, a change in routine, or a room that is too busy.

Psychological Causes: Boredom, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and delusions.

Tips for Handling the Behavior

It’s not easy to manage screaming and crying, but the following tips may be useful:

Keep Calm: Getting frustrated or upset can escalate the situation. Take a deep, slow breath and try to calm yourself before you try to deal with it. Speak in a soothing voice and use a gentle touch to help calm them.

Watch for Clues: Identifying the cause of the outburst can allow you to rectify the situation and stop the behavior. Watch for clues that might tell you what is wrong. For example, pulling at their clothes might mean they are too hot.

Quiet the Environment: Try reducing the noise in the room. Turn off the television or radio. If there are other people in the room, ask them to move to another part of the house or take the senior to a quiet room.

Offer a Distraction: Giving the older adult something to do that they enjoy can stop the behavior. Try a favorite snack or a distract them by looking out the window at a squirrel or bird.

Elderly care can help with episodes of screaming or crying. Elderly care providers are often matched with their clients by the experience and skills they have. Therefore, the elderly care provider assisting your aging relative will likely have worked with other older adults with dementia and be familiar with how to handle challenging behaviors.

Sources:  https://dailycaring.com/14-ways-to-handle-screaming-and-crying-in-dementia/



If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care Services in Bellevue TN, please contact the caring staff at Touching Hearts at Home. Serving Middle Tennessee (Nashville, Brentwood, Bell Meade, Franklin, Spring Hill, Columbia, Pulaski, and more!) Call today: 629-203-7925.

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