Challenge #2: Changes in Personality and Behavior
Because Alzheimer’s disease cause brain cells to die, the brain works less well over time. This changes how a person acts. You will notice that he or she will have goo days and bad days.
Here are some common personality changes you might see:
- Getting upset, worried, and angry more easily
- Acting depressed or not being interested in things
- Hiding things or believing other people are hiding things
- Imaging things that are not there
- Wandering away from home
- Pacing a lot of the time
- Showing unusual sexual behavior
- Hitting you or other people
- Misunderstanding what he or she sees or hears
Also, you may notice that the person stops caring about how he or she looks, stops bathing, and wants to wear the same clothes every day.
Other Factors that May Affect How People With AD Behave
In addition to changes in the brain, the following things may affect how people with AD behave.
How they feel:
- Sadness, fear, or a feeling of being overwhelmed
- Stress caused by something or someone
- Confusion after a change in routine, including travel
- Anxiety about going to a certain place
Health related problems:
- Illness or pain
- New medications
- Lack of sleep
- Infections, constipation, hunger or thirst
- Poor eyesight or hearing
- Alcohol abuse
- Too much caffeine
Problems in their surroundings:
- Being in a place he or she does not know well
- Too much noise, such as TV, radio, or many people talking at once. Noise can cause confusion or frustration
- Stepping from one type of flooring to another. The change in texture or they way the floor looks may make the person think he or she needs to take a step down
- Misunderstanding signs. Some signs may cause confusion. For example, one person with AD thought a sign reading “Wet Floor” meant he should urinate on the floor.
- Mirrors. Someone with AD may think that a mirror image is another person in the room
Stay-tuned for How to Cope with Personality Changes and Challenge # 3 to follow later this week.
Elayne Forgie, CMC,SRES
ElderCare at Home