Behaviour is communication

Behaviour is a form of communication. As Richard Ward suggests: “Irrespective of the severity or nature of impairment, a person with dementia will seek out and establish a means of self-expression and thereby make every effort to maintain a relationship with the world they inhabit”.

This relationship attempt may be in the form of repeated questions to you, clinging, or it may be to other people in their environment in the form of physical intimacy. This can be concerning for others but it is a legitimate and reasonable thing for the person to do. However, as with all behaviour it must be safe for others. If this is not the case and is imposed on others people then it must be managed in a skillful way so that everyone is maintained in a positive emotional state.

A useful book that can help to put sexual behaviour in a sensible light in aged care is this one by Barbara Sherman: Sex, Intimacy and Aged Care

What are the people in your care doing that is their way of communicating their inner experience to you? What are they saying to you?

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