Behavior changes and communication in Alzheimer's
Caregivers face a variety of challenges when a loved one develops Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, including communicating with the memory-impaired person and responding to difficult behaviors. This resource list offers a selection of articles, books, videos, and other materials that may help.
Working with patients who are cognitively impaired presents an ongoing communication challenge. For instance, they likely will have trouble following any instructions about their care, including how and when to take prescriptions. Make sure someone can closely monitor care management, and try to involve a care partner whenever possible.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may become agitated or aggressive as the disease gets worse. Agitation means that a person is restless or worried. He or she doesn’t seem to be able to settle down. Agitation may cause pacing, sleeplessness, or aggression, which is when a person lashes out verbally or tries to hit or hurt someone.
Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may start rummaging or searching through cabinets, drawers, closets, the refrigerator, and other places where things are stored. He or she also may hide items around the house. This behavior can be annoying or even dangerous for the caregiver or family members. If you get angry, try to remember that this behavior is part of the disease.
Many people with Alzheimer’s disease wander away from their home or caregiver. As the caregiver, you need to know how to limit wandering and prevent the person from becoming lost. This will help keep the person safe and give you greater peace of mind.
Due to complex changes occurring in the brain, people with Alzheimer's disease may see or hear things that have no basis in reality.
Late afternoon and early evening can be difficult for some people with Alzheimer’s disease. They may experience sundowning—restlessness, agitation, irritability, or confusion that can begin or worsen as daylight begins to fade—often just when tired caregivers need a break.
Alzheimer’s disease often affects a person’s sleeping habits. It may be hard to get the person to go to bed and stay there. Someone with Alzheimer’s may sleep a lot or not enough, and may wake up many times during the night.
Alzheimer’s disease causes brain cells to die, so the brain works less well over time. This changes how a person acts. This article has suggestions that may help you understand and cope with changes in personality and behavior in a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Communication is hard for people with Alzheimer’s disease because they have trouble remembering things. They may struggle to find words or forget what they want to say. You may feel impatient and wish they could just say what they want, but they can’t.