724: Making Your Way into Their Reality: Meaning of Behavior in Dementia
Tiffany Fishbaugh, M.S.W.
Shaped By Grace Counseling, LLC
7095 Emerson Rd.
Celina, OH 45822
How individuals behave is often an outward expression of what they are feeling, or thinking, and this does not change with age or even the diagnosis of dementia. However, all behavior has meaning or purpose, and when the current reality of an individual with dementia is acknowledged and validated by a caregiver, the emotional need can often be met for that moment in time. During this workshop, dementia will be defined, symptoms of the most commonly diagnosed types of dementia will be explored, and behavioral issues common to those living with dementia will be identified (Alzheimer’s Association, n.d.). While caregivers may view behaviors as problematic, this presentation will provide insight into the meaning and/or purpose of several behaviors and how best to respond (Adekoya & Guse, 2019). Exploration of these often problematic behaviors will demonstrate how individuals with dementia continue to communicate emotional needs common to all, no matter how old or how far in their dementia they have progressed. Naomi Feil’s Validation Method (Feil, 2004) offers principles that allow the person to express feelings and have these feelings acknowledged and validated. Thus, we can make a way and meet the unmet need of the individual with dementia when we enter his or her current reality.
• Discuss the difference between dementia and the normal aging brain
• Identify four behaviors common to dementia and their purpose/meaning
• Apply strategies for licensed mental health professionals to respond to the behaviors exhibited