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Behaviour Change in Older Adults

All behaviour has meaning
. Responsive behaviours are often a form of communication of an unmet need for an older adult.

Responsive Behaviours

Responsive behaviours is a term that is often preferred by persons with dementia, mental health, substance use and/or other neurological disorders to describe how their actions, words and gestures are a response to something important in their personal, social or physical environment. These behaviours are often a result of changes in the brain affecting memory, judgement, orientation and mood.

Examples of responsive behaviours include but are not limited to:

  • Hitting
  • Grabbing onto people
  • Pushing
  • Throwing things
  • Biting
  • Scratching
  • Spitting
  • Hurting self or others
  • Tearing things or destroying property
  • Sexually expressive behaviours
  • Negativism
  • Kicking
  • Pacing / Wandering
  • Trying to get to a different place
  • Eating/drinking inappropriate substances
  • Hiding / Hoarding
  • Performing repetitious mannerisms
  • General restlessness
  • Screaming
  • Cursing
  • Repetitive sentences or questions

For more information, videos and tips regarding specific responsive behaviours, visit the Alzheimer Society's website.

Are you worried about changes in someone's behaviour? Click here for more information.