Alzheimers behaviors begin to surface in the middle stage. This can be very disturbing to family members. Their personality can change. I have seen quiet passive people become very loud and aggressive. They may also become paranoid and suspicious. Some people even have hallucinations.
Repetitive movements may surface, such as pacing or touching a certain object over and over. Some people will sit and rock back and forth.
I have seen many patients who simply walk. I remember one woman I cared for at a nursing home who would continuously walk. It was all we could do to get her to sit down long enough to eat. As soon as she was done eating, she was up walking again. She walked up and down the halls like this usually for 3 days at a time. On the third day she would go to bed sleep for about 24 hours and then start the process again.
Some people like to rummage through things, especially drawers. This can be a problem if they get into drawers that have medicine, knives, tools, or other items which may cause harm.
Inappropriate sexual behaviors may also be
exhibited in this stage.This can be very awkward for family members. I have seen male patients grope females and I have seen little old women who can't keep their hands out of their pants. These were behaviors they would never had exhibited before the disease took over.
Irritability is often seen when they become frustrated. This usually happens when they are trying to complete a task and can't remember how. A calm reassuring voice can go along way to help calm them.
Some people become aggressive. I remember one man who every time a certain nurse came into the room he would chase after her with his fists raised and try to hit her. His wife said she must have reminded him of some other woman he did not like. This behavior can lead to harm for the caregiver. I have seen many spouses who are living with someone with Alzheimers who has aggressive behavior. If you see this type of behavior please talk to your doctor about it. There may be medicines that can help. One the hardest behavior problem for most family members is the agitation and aggression that happens to many people with this disease.
A common Alzheimers behavior problem is what we refer to as sun-downing. For some reason the early evening hours are when many
people seem to get more confused. This is often the time behaviors escalate.
There are several things that can lead to behavior problems. Fatigue is one of the most common contributors. Try to keep them from getting overly tired. A routine really will make your life easier. Some people with Alzheimer's Disease have a problem with change, which will result in an increase in behaviors. Especially changes which affect their routine. If you are going to have a new caregiver, you should ease them into the picture slowly. Give your family member time to adjust to the change.
You may see an increase in Alzheimers behaviors when there is to much stimulus. There may be to many people around, the television, or music may be to loud. Be careful asking to many questions. They tend to become agitated easy because they don't know the answer and it is very frustrating to them. Frustration can lead to behaviors.
Some people may have a couple of the behaviors and others will have every behavior. You will need to learn what triggers the behaviors and how to control them. An example would be, some people will start to pace or repeatedly or pull at their clothing when they need to use the bathroom.
There are medications which can help calm agitation which may help control the behavior. Your physician may be able to order something for the agitation. There are also several natural calming ingredients which you can try. You can find them at your local health food store or online.
Remember, distraction and redirection are good techniques to use for many of the behaviors.
Do you need help keeping track of appointments, medicines, vital signs, weights, meals, bowels, and behaviors?
Do you know what stage of Alzheimer's Disease your loved one is in?
Do you know what to watch for next?
Do you have sitters coming in and need to have a better system to help them provide the best care?
Does your loved one have behaviors that you should be tracking?
Do you have all of the information written down you need when you go to your doctor visits to help them understand what needs you may have?
The Caregivers Notebook will help you organize and document the care needed in your home and provide clear direction to those who help you care for your loved one.