All behaviour has meaning, so when people with dementia exhibit aggression, irritability or anxiety, it is often their way of communicating an unmet need.
Up to 90 per cent of people living with dementia will experience behavioural and psychological symptoms during the course of the disease. This has been shown to increase caregiver burden and stress, as well as higher utilization of healthcare services.
The Behavioural Supports for Seniors Program offers a lifeline to families caring for a loved one at home, as well as to care providers in long-term care homes, through in-person and virtual visits that help them understand and manage responsive behaviours and enhance the quality of life of people living with dementia.
Sharon Taylor* can attest to the benefits of the program. She became her father’s primary caregiver after her mother passed away and was not equipped to deal with the cognitive changes caused by his vascular dementia.
This has helped us a lot,” she says. “I already see we are making changes.”
Linus Ip, a clinician from the Community Behaviour Support Outreach Team, provided Taylor with intensive psychoeducation and coaching and brought her siblings together for a virtual education session on strategies to address their father’s symptoms of apathy and resistance to care.
“She has been wonderful,” says Taylor. “She listens and really understands how to talk to caregivers.”
You can help provide a way through dementia for families like Sharon’s by donating to Baycrest.
* a pseudonym has been used to protect her privacy