September 18, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille


Disbelief. Shame. Awkwardness. Discomfort. Each one of these feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s mind when a senior with dementia showcases disinhibited behaviors, such as:

  • Rude or tactless comments
  • Inappropriate sexual remarks or advances
  • Removal of clothes at improper times
  • Other socially unacceptable actions

The complicated changes that occur to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease may cause a complete turnaround in an individual’s personality and disinhibited behaviors, such as a formerly genteel grandmother suddenly swearing like a sailor. For somebody who is disoriented, uncomfortable, confused, or has essentially forgotten social skills and graces, these behaviors are actually quite common, so it’s crucial to know how to best manage them if and when they arise in someone you love.

At Home Independent Living’s Alzheimer’s care professionals recommend trying the following tactics:

  • See if there’s a solvable problem creating the behaviors, for example, a physical illness, medication complications, the need to utilize the rest room, environment-induced anxiety, etc.
  • Remind yourself that the dementia is to blame, and respond gently and patiently, without overreacting or lashing out in frustration.
  • Help the senior continue to be involved in appropriate activities according to his/her specific interests. In the event that the person becomes agitated with a particular activity, switch to something else, or move to a new room in the house or outdoors whenever possible.
  • Pay attention to clothing choices, if removing clothes at inappropriate times is a concern. If the senior has been wearing pants without zippers for ease and comfort, you might want to change to something a little bit more challenging to take off when out in public, for example.
  • Be certain that each of the person’s physical needs are met to avoid problematic behaviors. This may include maintaining a comfortable temperature in the house, keeping a number of healthy snacks and drinks, and supporting regular exercise and movement.
  • Provide proper physical contact often in the form of hugs, holding the person’s hand, or rubbing his/her back, when welcomed by the individual, communicating reassurance to ease anxiety.

As a caregiver, it is also beneficial to ensure you have enough time for scheduled breaks to tend to your own self-care needs and alleviate the stress that is frequently inherent in looking after a senior loved one with dementia. At Home Independent Living’s caregivers are professionally trained and experienced in effective, compassionate dementia care and are here for you with as much or as little in-home care as needed. Call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for additional resources or to schedule a free in-home consultation for more information on dementia care in Fayetteville, NY and the other areas in New York we serve.