How to manage Alzheimer’s personality and behavior changes
The following pieces of advice can help caregivers to deal with the changes in personality and behavior that Alzheimer’s disease brings about:
· Keep things as simple as possible; say one thing at a time, ask the person with Alzheimer’s to do one thing at a time, and so on and so forth.
· Maintain a daily routine so the patient gets used to certain things happening.
· Constantly reassure the patient that they are safe and that you are there if they need help.
· Concentrate on how the person is feeling as opposed to on what they are saying. For instance, use a phrase such as, “you seem concerned.”
· Neither argue nor try to reason with the Alzheimer’s disease patient.
· It is okay to become upset, but don’t let the person know that you are angry or frustrated. Instead, breathe deeply and count to ten, or leave the room for a while (but only if it’s safe to leave the person alone or there is someone else to keep an eye on them).
· If the person tends to pace a lot, make sure they have a safe place to do so.
· Give music, singing, and dancing a shot as a means of keeping the patient distracted.
· Instead of giving orders, ask for help. For example, say “I need help setting the table” instead of “let’s set the table.”
Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells which in turn can affect an individual’s personality and demeanor. Additionally, other factors inherent to this condition can also influence the way that a person acts, including:
· Feelings of sadness, fear, stress, confusion, or anxiety.
· Other health conditions such as infections, constipation, hunger and thirst, vision and hearing problems.
· Pain, new medications, lack of sleep.
· Environmental issues such as too much noise or being in an unfamiliar place.
It helps to know what triggers a certain behavior in a patient so address the cause. If you don’t know what the source of the problem is, ask a doctor as it could stem from a physical or medical condition.
Some of the most common changes an Alzheimer’s patient goes through are:
· Becoming upset, worried, or angry more easily.
· Acting depressed or uninterested in things or activities that used to bring them joy.
· Either hiding objects or believing other people are hiding objects from them.
· Wandering away from home.
· Pacing a lot.
· Displaying uncommon sexual behavior.
· Hitting other people, including the caregiver.
· Not understanding what they are seeing or hearing.
Some behavioral issues such as hitting, biting, depression, and seeing or hearing things that are not there can be improved with medication. Ask a doctor if they can prescribe something that will help make the situation better.