Understanding Dementia-Related Behavioral Changes in Seniors

Alzheimer’s dementia is brought on by significant changes taking place in select few areas of the brain. Specifically affected are parts of the brain that control mood, memory and behavior. When a senior develops Alzheimer’s, dramatic behavioral patterns are usually a side effect. These behaviors can place an enormous amount of stress on family members and senior caregivers, especially if the senior was previously gentle, kind and loving.

Coping with these Changes

When dementia-related behaviors grow to become cruel or dangerous, it is important for everyone to understand that the senior is not deliberately changing his or her behavior. Two classic behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s dementia are anger and aggression. Unfortunately, these uncontrollable behaviors are usually directed toward loved ones and caregivers. It’s nothing personal; they’re just the ones who happen to be in constant contact with the senior.

Even though the anger and aggression can take friends and family members aback, the senior is not in control of his or her own actions. In fact, according to the latest research studies, the senior is likely suffering a great amount of fear brought on by his behaviors. Experts suggest that Alzheimer’s patients also need consistent reassurance by loved ones.

Reaching Out for Help

When friends or family members begin to notice behavioral changes in a senior loved one diagnosed with dementia, discussing the changes with a medical professional is essential. And, since time is of the essence, seeking help in a timely manner is of the utmost importance.

Physicians will be able to assess the senior’s situation, working to rule out other possible causes for the personality change. For example, a number of behavioral changes are brought on by physical illness or pain.

Physicians will also talk to the senior and his family members, answering the questions or concerns related to Alzheimer’s. It’s always a good idea write down a list of questions in the days leading up to the medical evaluation. This helps to ensure a clear understanding of the treatment plan going forward.

For those who deal with the personality changes on a daily basis, the following coping tips offer some much-needed relief:

  • Follow a strict daily routine with as little deviation as possible
  • Don’t make changes to the senior’s environment
  • Control the number of unfamiliar people going in and out of the home

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