August 11, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

An older adult stands in the produce section of a grocery store, resting her arms on the shopping cart.

It’s hard to predict how someone with dementia will behave from moment to moment. The disease can transform a person’s mood, personality, and behaviors in the blink of an eye. When you’re at home providing care for a person with dementia, these changes can be hard enough to manage. But what happens when you’re at a restaurant, grocery store, or hair salon?

How to Handle Challenging Dementia Behaviors in Public

The fear of embarrassment from a public dementia outburst can make you avoid being in public with someone with dementia altogether. However, being out in the community is important. It provides someone with dementia a feeling of purpose, eases isolation and loneliness, offers opportunities to socialize, and more.

Having a game plan to manage challenging dementia behaviors in public is key. These strategies can help.

  • Keep your cool. Your attitude and demeanor when reacting to difficult behaviors are contagious to a person with dementia. Take a good deep breath and give yourself a pep talk prior to stepping out the door. Remind yourself to remain calm and patient, no matter what occurs.
  • Carry cards. If you’re wary of how an outburst may impact others around you, create some small cards that you can discreetly hand out. They can simply state, “Please forgive any impolite behaviors or outbursts. These are the result of Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • Keep note of triggers. Write a log of information on challenging behaviors in public and then look for trends. You may find, for example, that the individual does well in a small store or restaurant, but becomes distraught whenever there are large crowds, too much noise, or bright lights. There could be a particular time of day that’s more distressing to be out, or physical needs might be an issue, for example, fatigue, thirst, hunger, pain, or even the need to use the restroom.

Our Home Care Services Can Help!

At Home Independent Living’s dementia care experts can help you and seniors with dementia navigate their outbursts with patience, skill, and creativity. As seasoned care experts who are fully trained in a wide range of dementia care needs, we have seen it all! We understand how to restore calm to somebody who is distressed or agitated, ensuring respect and dignity throughout an outburst.

Some of the many challenging symptoms of dementia we can help manage include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sundowning
  • Wandering
  • Aggression
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • And more

Whether you’re looking for just a few hours of respite care to allow time for you to take a break, overnight support or live-in care to ensure safety and wellbeing while you get much-needed rest, or anything in between, we are here for you.

Reach out to us online, or call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for more resources and tips, and to find out more about our specialized in-home dementia care in Syracuse, Camillus, Clay, and the surrounding areas.