Alzheimers and Behavioral Changes
Causes of Behavioral Changes
One of the most difficult things to deal with for the caregivers and loved ones of those who have Alzheimers disease is that there are often a number of behavioral changes that come with this condition. When brain cells die as a result of this disease and certain changes in the brain take place there are a number of outside influences that can trigger changes in behavior and emotional reactions. These behavioral changes are simply part of the progression of Alzheimers. However, when the family members and loved ones of these individuals have a better understanding of the causes behind these changes, they may be better able to handle them.
Many times these changes in behavior come from frustration and confusion over the individual feeling lost or not knowing where they are. These feelings can cause fear, frustration and insecurity that may be portrayed in aggressive behaviors. Other causes of these behavioral changes can come from agitation over being unable to meet basic human needs. Many times individuals with dementia are unable to get what they need, such as food or water, or use the restroom as they need and this inability to handle certain situations can lead to increased irritability or aggressive behaviors.
There are all types of situations that can cause these behavioral changes and it is important to remember that those dealing with Alzheimers are going through a great deal of change and that it is very normal to react to that change with outbursts or changes in behavior. However, this doesnt mean there is nothing that you can do in order to help make the situation more manageable.
Some of the best things to do when a loved one is expressing aggressive or negative behavioral changes are:
- Provide reassurance to this individual and speak in a calm, comforting voice so they feel a sense of security around you. This can help them calm down and resort to more normal behaviors. - Identify any coexisting psychiatric issues that may be lending themselves to the behavior issues; this is no uncommon with individuals who have dementia. - Change the environment of the individual if their current setting or living situation seems to make them uneasy, scared, distracted or overwhelmed. - Create a daily routine for the individual; many times change or unpredictability can cause extreme confusion, anger or frustration for those with dementia as they already struggle with memory and confusion. By establishing a set routine and eliminating as much change as possible, they are less likely to exhibit negative behaviors as a reaction.