Managing Personality Changes in your Parent with Alzheimer’s

Though there are definite stages that someone with Alzheimer’s goes through, the duration and the effects of each one seems to vary widely from person to person. Some never experience behavioral changes, while others go through profound changes. The early stages may find your parent a little more moody or irritable than before the disease took hold. In the later stages, they may become restless and suspicious. Your timid mom may break out in a rage. They may see or hear things that are not there, causing them to be fearful.

Changes in personality can be brought on by an underlying disease such as an undiagnosed urinary tract or sinus infection. They can also be due to medications. Be sure to make an appointment with their primary health care provider if you notice changes taking place.  There are treatments that can significantly reduce or help manage the behavioral and personality changes of Alzheimer’s.

How a Family Caregiver can Help

As a family caregiver, you are in the best position to understand what may trigger your parent’s personality changes. It may often be due to a change within their environment or an activity they are uncomfortable with. Like a detective gathering clues, see if you can piece together the possible changes that may take place before your parent’s personality shifts.

Just a few examples include a specific person that stops by the house regularly, a certain time of day, bathing, or being asked to put on certain clothing. Once you determine possible causes, find alternative solutions. Aunt Mary may just have to call instead of stopping by—and your parent may not be able to come to the phone very often. If they want to wear a stripped purple shirt with polka-dot pink pants, that’s okay. Unless an action will cause them harm, it’s often best to be agreeable. It can be difficult to always remember that this is a disease affecting your family member and not a change in their personality. Rule number one: Never take offense.

Help your parent feel a sense of security by creating a regular and simple routine. Arise and go to bed at the same time, perform certain activities throughout the day, take a walk together before sunset, and turn the lights on before dark descends so that shadows don’t confuse them. Engaged activity during the day and restful, relaxing activities at night can prove beneficial. If their attention becomes directed at something that frightens then, redirect and help them feel safe. Rule number two: Never argue.

If making changes and taking things in stride does not seem to help, medication may be recommended, though risks should be carefully considered.

Home Care Provider

If order for you to maintain that relaxed and calm demeanor required of one caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, you will need some respite care. All human’s need time to recharge and rejuvenate to be at their best, no matter the circumstances. A home care provider can assist your loved one with daily activities, keep their routine in place, and provide the companionship that helps them feel secure.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Reedley, CA, please contact the caring staff at Valley Home Care.