Dementia can be debilitating and cause major limitations to how people live their daily lives. Oftentimes, it can feel like certain triggers and symptoms of dementia come out of nowhere, making it all the more difficult to handle appropriately. If you or a loved one is suffering from dementia, then understanding the common triggers, various symptoms, and what kind of support a trusted Denver memory care facility can provide you can help better prepare you for engaging with your loved one with more confidence.

What Exactly Is Dementia?

Dementia is not defined as a specific disease but rather a general term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect cognitive behavior and memory due to abnormal changes to the brain. The most common disease associated with dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This is important to know because not all cases of dementia are the same. The type of dementia, symptoms, and triggers of dementia-related behavior are unique to every individual and must be handled with a personalized approach.

What Are the Primary Triggers and Symptoms of Dementia Behavior?

It’s quite common for dementia-related symptoms to occur with little to no warning. This can make it extremely difficult to predict or anticipate certain behaviors to react most appropriately to them. However, there are certain triggers that are common across many cases of dementia that may help you prepare accordingly for potential aggressive reactions in order to better communicate with your loved one.

Here are three common triggers of dementia behavior:

  • Confusion: Perhaps the primary symptom of dementia is the decline in their cognitive abilities and basic everyday tasks. While it’s good not to patronize or talk down to someone dealing with dementia, you should also avoid too much stimulation. Overly complex discussions or asking too many questions can leave the patient confused, which can often lead to more aggressive behavior.
  • Pain or Discomfort: General pain, side effects from medications, lack of sleep, and inability to describe their discomfort are all common symptoms that can trigger aggressive behavior or lashing out.
  • Environment: This is the most common trigger for aggressive behavior in dementia patients. Sudden changes to their present environment, such as loud noises, several people entering the room at once, and people quickly coming in and out of the room, can be particularly overwhelming to the physical senses of the person and lead to potentially combative responses.

The specific symptoms that an individual will experience will vary from person to person, but most symptoms can be placed into two categories: cognitive and psychological.

Some Common Symptoms in Dementia Cases


  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty describing things or finding the right words
  • Confusion, potential disorientation, and trouble performing both complex and basic everyday tasks
  • Poor coordination and decreased control of various movements
  • Difficulty problem-solving or reasoning


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • General changes in personality

Although these symptoms can reveal themselves with almost no warning, we hope that by taking the time to better understand the common triggers of dementia patients, you are setting up both yourself and your loved one for greater success to make life less challenging.

How Can Memory Care Help Someone with Dementia?

The reality for many who suffer from dementia is that memory loss is only one of the various symptoms they experience every day. In addition to forgetfulness, they often exhibit changes in the way they feel, think, speak, and behave. The totality of these symptoms has a significant impact on their overall well-being and their quality of life and requires a more holistic approach.

Some of the ways to help improve their quality of life are by fostering an overall sense of community and engaging in supervised social activities. Social activities not only enhance their quality of life but can also reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness. In addition, participating in various social activities can help reduce the patient’s level of stress and establish positive habits.

Other areas where a memory care facility can be beneficial are by ensuring that the patient is in a physically safe environment and by providing the nutritional care and dietary needs they may have. An exceptional assisted living and memory care facility will work to address multiple aspects of their condition with the aim of improving or sustaining the patient’s overall quality of life.


Q: What Are the Three Types of Behavioral Triggers in Dementia?

A: There can be several different kinds of behavioral triggers that individuals living with dementia regularly experience. However, dementia aggression can still occur without any warning or triggers. Three of the most common types of behavioral triggers in dementia patients are confusion, pain or discomfort, and a changing or overwhelming environment.

Q: What Are Three Things to Never Do with Your Loved One with Dementia?

A: There are many different things that are recommended to avoid when engaging a loved one with dementia. However, there are three specific things that stand out in the most common types of dementia cases. Do not argue or tell a dementia patient that they are wrong, do not ask them if they remember something, and do not bring up any potentially upsetting or controversial topics, such as politics or religion.

Q: What Do Dementia Patients Struggle With?

A: Dementia patients can struggle with a variety of cognitive and psychological problems, from memory loss and confusion to depression, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, and extreme changes in their personality. Patients will often experience dramatic changes in the way they think, feel, speak, and go about their everyday lives, which can lead to a substantial decrease in their overall quality of life.

Q: What Scares People with Dementia?

A: Part of the saddening reality of people suffering from dementia is that they can experience fear quite often. Due to declines in their cognitive abilities and their general behavior, many dementia patients become scared when they are confused, forgetful, and even paranoid. This can lead to high frustration, embarrassment, and fear of those symptoms recurring.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia and in need of a new home, Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can help. Our memory care facility and accommodating staff can provide the aid that your loved one needs as they navigate the daily struggles of dementia. Give us a call or schedule a tour of our facility to see how we can help.