Description of Behavior

Agitation is a broad term that refers to a variety of verbal, vocal or physical behaviors that appear distressing to the person with dementia or are considered inappropriate or unusual or are disruptive to others.

Common behaviors observed in a person experiencing agitation are restlessness, complaining, repetitive statements or repetitive movements and constant requests for attention.

Why behavior might occur

Most people with dementia will experience agitation at some time during their illness. Agitation can occur due to a person having an unmet need that they cannot communicate to others. Some things that may cause agitation include the person having pain or a medical illness, being uncomfortable, being hungry/thirsty or being tired.

Agitation can also occur in response to factors in the environment such as a change in routines, changes in care providers or location, the person with dementia being rushed or feeling uncomfortable, or having too much or too little stimulation.

How to approach the person who is agitated

Specific things to try to reduce agitation