How to Provide Patient Education for Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Patient Education for Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia, which is a broad term for conditions characterized by cognitive impairments.

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that leads to the death of brain cells, causing memory loss, cognitive decline, and changes in behavior.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia is both emotionally and physically draining, a challenge that may require more patience and strength than you ever imagined.

You’ll need to look to family, friends, and the community for support. When caring for these individuals, consider practical interacting techniques and keeping them safe.

For this reason, we’ll center this patient education discussion on how to handle behaviors among Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Why? Because understanding them and how to manage them is perhaps the best way to help them.

How to Handle Difficult Behavior in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

As brain damage progresses, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can’t recall what was once acceptable normal behavior. For this reason, you need some tips on how to handle them.

Agitated or Violent

Agitated or violent behavior can be triggered by changes caused by dementia. You’ll find mild-mannered people being aggressive because of changes in their brains.

Check out some tips you can use to address this type of behavior:

1. To ensure safety, remove potentially dangerous objects from the patient’s reach and maintain a safe distance if there is a risk of violence. Contact appropriate services if the situation escalates beyond your control.

2. If there is no danger, remain calm because a patient’s emotions are a reflection of their surroundings. If you’re triggered, the patient will be triggered as well.

3. Don’t get into a confrontation with an agitated patient. Patients with AZ or dementia lack the ability to follow an argument which frustrates them even further.


At some point, it’s no longer safe for an AD or dementia patient to drive. So how can you deter an AD or dementia patient from cruising?

1. Inform them of the dangers of driving in their condition before an accident happens.

2. Volunteer to drive them to places or ask friends and family to do it.

3. If it becomes necessary to prevent driving, you may need to discreetly hide the car keys, disable the vehicle, or relocate the car to ensure safety.

Private or Public Inappropriate Behavior

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, can impair the brain’s executive functions responsible for social inhibition, sometimes leading to unexpected behaviors such as disrobing or inappropriately urinating.

Note that there is no aggressive intent. It’s just that they can’t control the part of their brain that says such behaviors are inappropriate. How can you help? Try these tips

1. If you’re shocked, keep your reaction in check and calmly guide the person to a washroom or more secluded place and cover them if need be.

2. Don’t be angry or reprimand them. This can confuse them because they don’t understand that their behavior is inappropriate.

3. Try and distract them with something else.


1. Listen to what they’re repeating and the tone to see if there is anxiety in their words.

2. Find something structured for them to do that will be engaging and act as a distraction to prevent repetitive tasks or questions.

3. Some repetitive tasks mean the person’s brain is ‘stuck’ at that moment which is common. Do not be alarmed; a simple touch can break this cycle.


Persons with AZ or dementia often become disoriented, and their thoughts start to wander at some point.

Common behaviors include expressing a desire to ‘go home’ even when at home, or searching for people from their past, stemming from confusion or memory loss.

Some will wander from a new or unfamiliar setting or even forget how to get to a familiar place, such as the washroom, so you might find them at the front door or in the garage looking for it.

Follow these steps to prevent wandering:

1. Have a daily routine: Ensure the patient has a regular schedule for eating, sleeping, and other routine activities. Routines help soothe patients with AD or dementia and help prevent the anxiety that causes them to wander.

2. Encourage daily physical activity for the patient to promote overall health and potentially reduce restlessness or agitation that may lead to wandering.

3. Avoid busy and crowded places when you’re outside with them. For instance, loud sporting events or busy shopping malls can disorient them.

Final Thought

When it comes to providing patient education for Alzheimer’s and dementia, that’s about it.

Keep in mind that hope is not lost with these individuals, and if things get out of hand, you can always contact the Alzheimer’s Organization or National Institute of Aging.

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Current Version
May 11, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 23, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD

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