Caregiver Resources - Behavioural Issues

Responsive behaviours may be the result of an unmet need or a desire that can no longer be communicated effectively through appropriate words and actions. Some examples of responsive behaviour might be resisting care, use of foul language, hitting, scratching, wandering and throwing objects. No matter where your loved one is living, responsive behaviours can cause caregiver stress.

It is important to understand that the actions are not intended to cause harm or are not willful or intentional. (1)   In order to provide the care required your approach and attitude is important: some examples are to use simple words that the person will understand; break down activities into a series of steps; distract and redirect and above all be patient, kind and caring.(2)  Step back and don’t force the person.

As a caregiver, maintaining emotional and physical fitness is crucial. It can help to reach out to others who understand the challenges and also to celebrate successes. Seek and maximize community supports, family members and friends. Sharing tasks, solving problems, and savouring the humour along the caregiving journey will help maintain your physical, emotional and mental health. (3)


1. Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) University of Waterloo. Retrieved Feb. 2014 from:

2. Family Caregiver Alliance. (2014). Retrieved Jan 13, 2014 from:

3. (2013). Retrieved February 19, 2014 from: