How Would You React to a Dementia Outburst in Public?

By Published On: August 11, 2023Categories: Alzheimer's and Dementia, Dementia, Respite Care
An older adult stands in the produce section of a grocery store smiling.

Do you know the best way to react to a dementia outburst in public?


It goes without saying, but Alzheimer’s is very unpredictable. It can transform a person’s personality, mood, and behaviors in the blink of an eye. When you’re at home caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, these changes can be difficult enough to manage. But what happens when you are at a restaurant, grocery store, or hair salon?

Tips on How to Navigate a Dementia Outburst in Public

Fear of a dementia outburst can make you hesitant about going out in public with someone with dementia. However, being out in the community is very important. It provides someone with dementia a feeling of purpose, eases isolation and loneliness, offers opportunities to socialize, and more.

Knowing how to respond to an uncomfortable situation before going out is key. These guidelines will help.

  • Stay calm. The person with dementia can pick up on your demeanor and attitude. Take a deep breath and give yourself a pep talk before stepping out of the door. Remind yourself to remain patient and unwaveringly calm, regardless of what occurs.
  • Carry cards. If you’re concerned about the perceptions of the people around you during a dementia outburst in public, create some small business-sized cards that you can discreetly hand out. They can simply state, “Please forgive any impolite behaviors or outbursts. They are the result of Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • Be conscious of triggers. Maintain a journal to keep track of the details of public outbursts, and then look for commonalities. You might find, for example, that the individual does well in a small store or restaurant, but becomes distraught whenever there are large crowds, too much noise, or bright lights. There could be a specific time of day that’s more distressing to be out, or physical needs may be a factor, for example, hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, or the need to use the restroom.

Our Home Care Services Can Help

Golden Harmony’s dementia caregivers can help navigate difficult behaviors in dementia with patience, skill, and creativity. As seasoned care experts who are fully trained in a wide range of dementia care needs, we have seen it all! We understand how to restore calm to someone who is agitated or distressed, ensuring respect and dignity throughout an outburst.

A few of the many challenging symptoms of dementia we are available to help manage include:

  • Sundowning
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Wandering
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • And more

Whether you’re interested in just a couple hours of respite care to allow time for you to take a break, overnight support or live-in care to ensure safety and wellbeing while you get much-needed rest, or anything in between, we’re here for you.

Contact us online or at 919-426-7522 for more tips and resources, and to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and the surrounding areas.