The changes in behavior of patients with Alzheimer’s disease is very challenging especially on the caregiver’s part. The cause of this alteration is due to the deterioration of the brain that directly affects the memory and cognitive skills of a patient.
Alzheimer’s patients may act disturbingly or violently that other family members are forced to put their patient in nursing homes or care facilities intended for cases like this. Fortunately, there are resources or strategies that may help families to cope and understand better the effect of each stage of the disease on their loved ones.
Behaviors of An Alzheimer’s Patient
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Angry Outbursts and Physical Aggression
The aggression in patients is common for those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Whenever a patient becomes aggressive, it is essential for caregivers to remind themselves that it is the disease that is making the patient act that way. What you can do is identify whether something is causing the behavior like over-stimulation or physical discomfort.
Hand-wringing, Pacing, and Rocking
According to the Alzheimer’s Association research, restlessness, pacing, rocking, and hand wringing is usually prompted by something particular around the patient because dementia made processing stimuli and new information difficult to digest in their brain. Understanding the trigger that caused the person to become anxious can help you chose the best approach to the situation. Instead of engaging the patient, you may divert the person’s attention away from it like for example singing a song, listening to music, or taking a walk
Accusing Loved Ones of Wrongdoing and Hallucinating
If you are not used to caring for Alzheimer’s patients, you may feel confused by the patient’s behavior, which is sometimes detached from reality. Their reaction maybe based on hallucinations or paranoia. If it’s just a mild case, a simple distraction can help bring the person to reality. But if it is an acute case of hallucination or paranoia, you should immediately bring the patient to a doctor for a medical evaluation.
Repeating Stories and Leaving the House Unassisted
Alzheimer’s disease can cause brain or memory disorders which can lead to various harrowing behaviors like recurring of words or activities, agitation, and even depression. They may also experience disorientation in both familiar and unfamiliar environment which could be dangerous for them especially when people with Alzheimer’s have the tendency to wander alone. So it is advisable that you always keep an eye on them. If you can’t be certain that you can monitor them 24/7 because you have other important things to do, you may provide your loved one a GPS tracker like Trackimo. The device will send you an alert if the wearer goes out of the assigned area. That’s why it is important that caregivers stay calm and patient. Arguing and correcting them will do no good. The disease already took away their reasoning.
Sleep Problems and Sundowning
It is still not clear why many Alzheimer’s patients have sleep disturbances. They become more restless as the sun goes down that leads to a change in their sleeping pattern. These symptoms can really be agitating to both the caregiver and the elderly.
The Family Caregiver Alliance advises to let the patient engage in different structured activities during daytime and provide them healthy foods, the ones with less sugar and caffeine. Prevent them also from over-napping during daytime to avoid late-night activity.
These are not the only problems you can encounter with an Alzheimer’s patient. Other issues such as dressing, bathing, and eating are also difficult to deal with because they can no longer care for themselves. So rather than be agitated, be understanding because it’s also not easy for them.
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