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Worried About Changes in Behaviour?
Changes in behaviour may fall under the umbrella of responsive behaviour.  Responsive behaviour 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 (Alzheimer Society of Ontario, 2014). These behaviours are often a result of changes in the brain affecting memory, judgement, orientation and mood.

Assessments & Other Resources

Consider completing one of the following assessments and/or visit some of the following web pages to access further information and tools. Remember to follow up with a family physician, nurse practitioner, or other health care professional.
The following is a short list among the many resources available on the web on these topics:

The 3 D's (Depression, Delirium, and Dementia)

  • Depression

    Depression is a true and treatable medical condition that is not a normal part of aging. However, older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression. Visit the following links to learn more about depression, its signs and symptoms, and possible treatment options: 
    Mood Disorders Society of Canada - Depression in Elderly
    CDC - Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older (American Resource)

  • Delirium

    Delirium is sudden severe confusion due to rapid changes in the brain function that occur with physical and/or mental illness. Delirium is not a mental illness; nor is it dementia. It is a medical emergency that is usually reversible if treated. Visit Vancouver Island Health Authority - Delirium Resources AND/OR This Is Not My Mom to learn more about delirium.

  • Dementia and Memory Testing was developed in consultation with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and contains many resources about Alzheimer’s disease, Signs & Symptoms, Tips for Visiting the Doctor, Caring for Someone and Caring for Caregivers. Among its resources is this memory test.

The Doctor’s Checklist

The Alzheimer Society has created a checklist to help you prepare for a doctor’s visit. Click here to view it.

Alcohol Use Survey

Click here for a free, confidential, personalized Alcohol Use self-assessment provided by the Centre for Mental Health and Addictions in Toronto.

Compassion Fatigue/ Caregiver Stress

Taking on the role for a family member/friend presenting with responsive behaviours can be challenging and sometimes result in compassion fatigue or “caregiver stress”. Remember that your health and well-being are essential. Visit the following links to learn more:

The Shifting Focus Guide

The Shifting Focus Guide contains numerous strategies for responsive behaviours. In order to better understand the behaviour’s true meaning, consider the following questions regarding what happened before, during and after the event: