Alzheimer's Disease: How to Manage Personality Changes In The Elderly

It’s unfortunate, but a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease includes personality changes in the elderly. As the disease deteriorates the brain, the initial behavioral changes in Alzheimer’s disease can provoke a previously calm loved one to have outbursts or cause a shy, withdrawn person to become uninhibited suddenly.

It can be challenging for a family member to manage personality changes in the elderly. It can also be emotionally upsetting for a loved one to witness these changes without knowing how to address them.

Three personality changes in the elderly

Some of the most common dementia personality changes include:

  1. Agitation: Your loved one may begin to pace around the house. Certain people, events or sudden changes in living circumstances may cause him or her to become anxious, upset, and visibly agitated.
  2. Loss of inhibitions or judgment: A person with Alzheimer’s disease may suddenly lose their inhibitions or their ability to judge appropriate safe behavior. They may become overly friendly with strangers and ask them for food or money. They may give away money and personal financial information to telemarketers.
  3. Hallucinations: Alzheimer’s disease may cause hallucinations. People suffering from the illness may see individuals who aren’t there. They may believe that people are in the house to harm them, or they may believe that they regularly visit with a loved one who died many years ago.

Understand the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

Remember that you are not alone in this situation. A geriatric care manager understands the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and can provide critical support and unbiased advice. They are experienced and trained in social work, nursing, gerontology, and mental health. As a result, they have a detailed understanding of the signs and symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

Care managers can educate family members and give them the information needed to cope with behavioral and personality changes in the elderly. When the unexpected dementia personality changes cause uncertainty and anxiety for family members, an experienced geriatric care manager can ease those fears.

Make progress with a geriatric care manager

It’s important to take a holistic view of the older adult’s needs. A geriatric care manager helps to understand how the current environment, or the dynamic of the family, may be causing some of the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These sudden personality changes don’t mean there is something wrong with the family or the home. It means that the person with Alzheimer’s disease is responding differently to these environments.

The care manager can help the family:

  • Understand the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and when additional care may be needed. If the loved one requires care by a gerontologist or other specialist, they can help the family access the right resources.
  • Save time by attending to doctor’s appointments and ensuring care is appropriate for the beginning symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
  • Improve communication between the physician and the family to increase understanding and make appropriate care decisions.

Navigate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

A geriatric care manager can serve as a navigator for the family. As the older adult progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s, the care manager can supervise the care and find appropriate resources for the family. For example:

  • A care manager can help family members protect the loved one’s finances and can advocate for protective services whenever necessary.
  • If a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has become too ill to remain in their home or that of a family member, the care manager can find appropriate housing.
  • If the loved one exhibits outbursts or other unusual behavior, the care manager is available to visit the family and determine intervention and prevention strategies.
  • If family members live a distance from their loved one, a care manager is available to oversee caregivers with 24/7 support.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are very complex and they require unbiased  support. A geriatric care manager at LivHOME is an invaluable resource who can help families ensure the highest quality of life for a loved one living with dementia.

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