Dementia and Caregiving Challenges

Updated: May 6, 2019


You probably know that caring for a loved one with dementia won’t be easy, but these sometimes embarrassing and unfamiliar behaviors might drive you nuts.


Dementia and Caregiving Challenges

  • Sleep problems and caregiver exhaustion are two of the most common reasons persons with dementia are placed in nursing homes. Causes of sleeplessness in dementia patients include pain, lack of exercise and activities, anxiety, agitation, or too much fluid or caffeine late in the day.

  • Urinary incontinence is the second leading reason that families institutionalize their loved ones with dementia. Urinary incontinence in persons with dementia should be evaluated for treatable causes, including urinary tract infections, electrolyte and calcium abnormalities, prostatic hypertrophy, and estrogen deficiency. A regular toileting schedule at two to three-hour intervals or verbal prompting may also alleviate this symptom.

  • Agitation and aggressive behavior have been reported in 65 percent of community-dwelling persons with dementia. Reasons for agitation or aggression include overstimulation, physical discomfort, unfamiliar surroundings or persons, complicated tasks, and frustrating interaction, as well as more serious reasons as paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations.

  • Caregivers may be embarrassed or ambivalent about discussing inappropriate sexual behaviors exhibited by persons with dementia.

  • Persons with dementia are often reluctant to stop driving when safety is at issue.

  • Repetitious questions may be due to short-term memory loss and an under-stimulating/over-stimulating environment leading to anxiety, feeling out of control, or fear.


Information for this blog cited from the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Medical Association


Written by Author and Keynote Speaker Sue Salach-Cutler. Sue has a Master’s degree in Gerontology and has worked in the healthcare field for over 25 years.  She is the Author of “Along Comes Grandpa”, a caregiving resource guide, and the novel “If I Walked in Her Shoes”. Her programs and books provide the vital resources needed to help family caregivers as they maneuver through the caregiving journey. Find out more about her books and programs here: CaregiverLife.com.  Adapted from: https://theworkingcaregiver.org



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