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Obsessive Behaviour | Management Strategies

  1. If the obsessive behaviour is due to an excess of energy or boredom, try to have the person you care for participate in daily exercises. Similarly, try and find tasks or activities to keep them from getting restless. Helpful tasks which they could perform are dusting, watering the garden or setting the table. Some recreational activities they may enjoy are dancing, playing cards or puzzles. This could limit the performance of repetitive activities that were due boredom.

  2. It is possible that you can communicate with the person you care for and reduce the obsessive behaviour by tracing the cause. Even if finding the cause does not reduce the behaviour, you may find it easier to deal with the person if you know the reason for their obsessive behaviour.

  3. If you find that the person you care for engages in obsessive behaviour when they are agitated or distressed, try and find alternative relaxation techniques. This may include things such as breathing exercises. While this will not necessarily put a stop to the obsessive behaviour, it may decrease its frequency.
  4. When the person you care for is engaging in an obsessive behaviour, stay calm and be reassuring. It is important to try and contain your frustration or irritation because this could increase their agitation and anxiety, which could further aggravate the behaviour. It can be helpful to try to change the focus from the obsessive activity to their regular routine as quickly as possible.

  5. Try and preserve the independence of the person you care for by allowing him or her to be involved in activities in any way that they can. For example, at mealtimes have the person you care for toss the salad or set the table to make them feel they have more control over the situation. This may reduce their need to hoard or hide food.

  6. If anxiety is one of the driving factors behind obsessive behaviour, it is possible that drug therapy can help. Contact your family doctor to make an appointment to discuss these issues.

  7. Consider having the person you care for visit a therapist or counsellor to discuss their obsessions and learn about possible behavioural therapies.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Wandering
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Repetitive Behaviour
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Anxiety and Worry
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Restlessness
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Counselling
About Dementia > Working with your Doctor > Getting a Diagnosis
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Attention/Concentration (lack of)
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
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Last updated January 9, 2019
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