Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult disease for family caregivers to deal with. The symptoms of memory loss and cognitive disability can be challenging and heartbreaking. But, perhaps even more challenging are the behavioral symptoms that can also occur. If your aging family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, being aware of behavioral symptoms that may occur as the disease progresses can help you to be prepared.
Common Behavioral Symptoms
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to the next. Your family member may not experience any of the symptoms, all of them, or only one or two. Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Wandering: Sometimes people with dementia walk around for no apparent reason. This behavior can be dangerous if the older adult leaves the house unattended as they may become lost or injured.
- Agitation and Aggression: Alzheimer’s patients may become easily agitated or aggressive. They may yell or act in physically aggressive ways. Often the behavior is triggered by external factors, such as something going on in the environment, fear, fatigue, or frustration.
- Perseveration: Perseveration is repeating an action, statement, or question over and over. This behavior isn’t harmful, but it can be irritating to caregivers.
- Paranoia: Older adults with Alzheimer’s may suddenly become suspicious of the people close to them, including family members, caregivers, and home care providers. They might accuse people of stealing from them and try to hide things.
- Sundowning: Certain behaviors may get worse in the late afternoon and evening hours, including agitation and disorientation.
Tips for Coping with Difficult Behaviors
Although there’s probably no way to completely eliminate difficult behaviors, there are some things that can be done to reduce them. Some tips for coping with behavioral symptoms are:
- Look for what might be triggering the behavior, such as pain, hunger, thirst, a need to use the bathroom.
- Set and stick to a daily routine so that the senior knows what to expect throughout the day.
- Remember that the behaviors are caused by the disease and aren’t personal attacks on you. Take a deep breath and try not to show your frustration as it may only make things worse.
- Try distracting the person by offering them a favorite snack or activity.
- For sundowning, try making the house brighter to prevent shadows that may be disturbing to the senior.
- Put locks high up on doors where the older adult isn’t likely to look for them. This can help prevent them from wandering.
A home care agency can help match your aging relative’s needs with a staff member who is experienced in dealing with Alzheimer’s behaviors. A home care provider can help manage behavioral symptoms by keeping the older adult comfortable and involved in meaningful activities. A home care provider can also ensure your aging family member stays safe by preventing them from wandering or using household appliances in an unsafe manner.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider senior care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.