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Behaviors as Communication

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As humans, we all have physiological and psychological needs that must be met. These needs can be basic, such as needs for food, water, warmth, and rest. Or more complex, such as the need for self-fulfillment or the desire to leave behind a legacy through our creative expression. Throughout our lives, our needs will adjust based on our ever-evolving circumstances and stages of life.

Based on Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs we are able to break our shared needs down into levels pictured on the pyramid below. In order for us to move from one stage to the other, the previous stage’s conditions must be met. For example, one cannot truly achieve self-actualization without first meeting needs for esteem, belonging, safety, and physiological needs.


 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

https://www.simplypsychology.org/Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs.jpg

When providing care for someone with memory loss, it is important to be aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how it can be implemented into the care delivered. At JEA Senior Living, our goal is to provide holistic care and wellbeing for each of our residents by meeting all of their needs to the best of our ability. 

Needs that residents could meet on their own become increasingly difficult when they are experiencing cognitive decline, alongside the aging process. As the ability to communicate decreases with cognitive decline, expressing one’s wants and needs becomes difficult. When this happens, many become frustrated, and rightfully so. imagine not being able to articulate your needs that have not been met, or even worse to lack the ability to identify your own needs along with a way to communicate them to others.

At this stage in the disease process, it is common for many to develop behaviors as a way of communicating their unmet needs. However, it is important to keep in mind this is not the individual’s intent. This is simply a manifestation of their disease process and their brain's reaction to the stimuli presented. These behaviors can include, aggression, collecting, paranoia, wandering, and more. Each behavior can be viewed as a method of communicating an unmet need. If a resident is experiencing aggression, this could be due to discomfort or pain. If a resident starts collecting or searching for seemingly random objects, it may be that they are searching for something specific, and cannot recall what the item is, or cannot articulate what they are looking for.

When an individual can no longer communicate or clearly articulate their needs, it is important to be aware of the new ways they are attempting to state their needs. Over the next few blogs, we will be sharing common behaviors, what they are typically attempting to communicate, and helpful approaches to resolve these behaviors.

For more information on Behavior as Communication or on how to develop a custom approach for your loved one, please contact your local JEA Senior Living community or send us a message here: https://www.jeaseniorliving.com/contact-us

JEA Senior Living

(800) 254-9442

5101 NE 82nd Ave Suite 200 Vancouver, WA 98662 US