Pei Lin visits the Day Centres to observe the dementia programmes conducted by the care teams, and review clients with behaviours of concern. “These behaviours are usually triggered by unmet needs, such as having to visit the washroom, feeling hungry or thirsty, pain in their bodies, or boredom from lack of engagement.”
Pei Lin shared about a 69 year-old Senior Day Care client who had wandering behaviour. “His wife was very stressed and worried as he often went off on bus rides alone from where they stayed in Telok Blangah, to far-off destinations like Tuas or Changi Village without informing her and got lost.”
The client initially did not like being in the Day Centre, and was physically aggressive with staff. He also frequently tried to leave the centre by trying to force open the door of the main entrance. He was only able to communicate with single words like “no.. no” and “yes, yes”, and rejected other clients when they tried to speak with him.
After observing his behaviour, Pei Lin formed a care team comprising herself, a community nurse, the centre manager and the care staff. Together, they met with the client’s wife to understand more about his needs, including possible unmet needs which may trigger these behaviours. Due to their condition, people with dementia may not be able to express their physical and emotional needs, become disoriented in unfamiliar environments, or become bored due to lack of engagement.
The care team was guided to watch for non-verbal reactions such as frowning and restlessness from the client, and frequently reminded him of the time and place. They also engaged him with reminiscent-themed puzzles, which reminded him of his past hobby of assembling model planes. Gradually, the wandering and agitated behaviour stopped, and the client became more cooperative with the care team. Seeing these improvements, his wife was very grateful to the care team.