Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s brain in a variety of manors. The disease attacks brain cells causing multiple behavioral changes and all types of memory loss. If you are caring for a loved one or if you are a professional caregiver, you may have experienced various behaviors from an individual with Alzheimer’s. You may have wondered if these behaviors are normal for someone with the disease. You may wonder what other behaviors to expect. Here is a list of some of the more common behavior changes caused by Alzheimer’s.
Aggression and Angry Outbursts: The disease can cause verbal and/or physical aggression towards family, friends or caregivers. A person can also become quite upset over the smallest of things and become very anxious. As a caregiver, remember that the disease has caused a change in your loved one. Try and identify an immediate cause of the behavior change, such as physical discomfort.
Suspicion and Hallucinations: Due to memory loss, those with Alzheimer’s may become suspicious of you, family members or even doctors. Since they cannot remember people or certain situations, they have high stress levels. Individuals are also known to have hallucinations. They may think they are somewhere else or in a different time period. Sometimes a simple distraction can bring them back to the present time.
Confusion and Wandering: As the disease progresses, your loved one’s memory will fade more and more. In turn, they will become more confused about everyday life. Wandering is one of the most commonly seen behavior in individuals with Alzheimer’s and perhaps the most stressful to a caregiver. Alzheimer’s individuals can easily get lost in places they have been to or lived in their whole life.
Sundowning: The second most common behavior seen from Alzheimer’s, sundowning is a condition where the sleep patterns of an individual are disturbed. Behaviors such as confusion, aggression and wandering end up becoming worse during the late afternoon or evening. As a caregiver, try to keep structured activity during the day and limit the caffeine and sugar intake of your loved one, to help prevent sundowing from occurring.
These behaviors are just some of many that are associated with Alzheimer’s. Your loved one may experience some or all of these listed above. Many of the behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s can be caused by specific triggers. Take the time to see if there is something causing a behavior change. Alzheimer’s individuals are also known to used behaviors as a way to communicate their feelings when they have lost the ability to verbally communicate. If these behaviors become too stressful for you or a family member to handle, seek out an Alzheimer’s support group in your area. Also, you might consider moving your loved one to an Alzheimer’s assisted living where there are caregivers trained specifically to care for those with the disease.