Tuesday, April 14, 2009


THE ABC Approach

One successful method of dealing with difficult behaviors is the "ABC" approach," usd extensively at the University of Washington in their Alzheimer's research. The approach has three key components:

1. Antecedent. First, determine what was going on just before you observed the behavior. What seemed to trigger it? Did the enviroment or you somehow contribute to the behavior? Was it too noisy or were you rushed when the incident happened?

2. Behavior. Once you've identified what triggered the behavior, try to identify what actually happened. What specific behavior did you see? For example, rather than observing that your care partner was angry, it is more helpful to recognize that they shook their fists or hit the table. Then you have a specific way of acting that you can watch for.

3. Consequences. Then look at the response to the behavior. How did you and the others react? Did you get angry yourself? Did you move your care partner away from the situation? Identify specifically what you did and how effective it was. A word of caution: At times, negative behaviors are reinforced when people receive added attention that they did not receive when things were on an even keel.

When you have examined all these factors, you will be better able to consider ways to resolve or deal with the difficult behavior.

Richard, M (2009). CareSharing: A Reciprocal Approach to Caregiving and Cre receiving in the Complexities of Aging, Illness or Disability. Woodstock, Vermont. Skylight Paths Publishing.

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