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How To Manage 4 Common Alzheimer’s Behaviors

How To Manage 4 Common Alzheimer’s Behaviors

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be emotionally difficult to process, for both the individual affected and their family and caregivers. This diagnosis may lead to a multitude of questions, and spark fears about the future. If this has happened to someone you love, it’s important to be prepared to understand, cope with, and help manage some of the changes your loved one may experience over time.

While there are many behaviors associated with the different stages of Alzheimer’s, we’ve compiled an overview of some of the most common Alzheimer’s behaviors to help you plan for and manage them. Below, you’ll find information on what to expect and suggestions on how to effectively help your loved one as the condition progresses. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing these behaviors, but these strategies are good ones to have at hand. 

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that inhibits memory and thinking skills. Cognitive decline as a result of Alzheimer’s typically progresses gradually. Eventually, a person living with Alzheimer’s may be unable to perform simple tasks or even care for themselves. This can be difficult both for the person who is diagnosed and those who care for them, who may experience caregiver burnout

If you find yourself struggling to provide effective care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may want to consider exploring your options for memory care. Memory care supports seniors experiencing cognitive decline due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. This is done through custom care programs, assistance with the activities of daily living, and on-site healthcare professionals trained to help your loved one navigate the disease.

4 Common Alzheimer’s Behaviors and Tips to Help Manage Them

Common Behavior 1: Anger and Aggression

People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may display aggressive behavior, even if they have never acted aggressively before. Alzheimer’s aggressive behavior may be verbal or physical, and it can occur suddenly, with no apparent reason.  

How to manage this behavior: Physical discomfort, environmental factors, and an inability to communicate can all be causes of aggression or anger in someone with Alzheimer’s. The good news is that you can help a loved one manage many of these sources of frustration.

Here’s how you can help calm someone who is showing signs of anger or aggression: 

  • Try to identify a cause. What happened right before the reaction? Examine the person’s surroundings and determine if you can make any changes to avoid similar situations.
  • Don’t get upset. Be positive and reassuring. Speak slowly and softly.
  • Shift the focus to another activity. This may help calm the person down.

Common Behavior 2: Anxiety and Agitation

Hand-wringing, pacing, and rocking are all signs of anxiety and agitation. These behaviors are often caused by different medical conditions or circumstances. Keep in mind that a person with Alzheimer’s is experiencing a loss of their ability to process information and situations.

How to manage this behavior: There are several different ways you can try to help a loved one calm their feelings of anxiety and agitation. These actions may also help calm you down.

  • Create a calm environment free from environmental stressors like clutter or loud noises. 
  • Monitor personal comfort. Check for pain, hunger, thirst, etc.
  • Simplify tasks and routines. Break things down into simple steps.
  • Provide an opportunity for and encourage exercise, as physical movement can help reduce anxiety

Common Behavior 3: Sleep Problems

Sleep issues are another common issue that those with Alzheimer’s encounter at some point in their diagnosis. Sleep is, of course, vital for optimal physical and mental health, and these disruptions can have negative impacts on both the person with Alzheimer’s and their caregiver. 

How to manage this behavior: There are several ways to help support better sleep habits for a person with Alzheimer’s. Lifestyle adjustments are often the first step toward better sleep.

Here’s how you can support better sleep habits:

  • Maintain regular times for meals, going to bed, and getting up.
  • Seek morning sunlight exposure, either by spending time outdoors or in a well-lit room.
  • Encourage regular daily exercise, but no later than four hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid or reduce the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.

Common Behavior 4: Memory Loss and Confusion

Memory loss and confusion in people with Alzheimer’s happens gradually. In the later stages of the disease, a loved one may not remember familiar people, places, or things. Situations involving memory loss and confusion require compassion, patience, and understanding.

How to manage this behavior: Different levels of memory loss and confusion call for different responses, but there are some universal ways to help someone cope with these behaviors.

  • Stay calm even when a loved one has a lapse in memory.
  • Respond with a brief explanation of how a person or situation is relevant.
  • Show photos and other keepsakes to remind someone of relationships and places.
  • Offer corrections as suggestions, but avoid scolding a loved one.

Explore Memory Care Services and Resources at Abbey Delray

Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or receiving a diagnosis yourself is an intensely emotional experience. At Abbey Delray, a senior living rental community in Delray Beach, Florida, our team is committed to helping older adults and their loved ones through the good and bad days.

At Abbey Delray, we offer skilled, compassionate memory care for Alzheimer’s and other causes of memory decline. We treat each day as a new and exciting adventure. If you’d like to learn more about Abbey Delray’s memory care options in Delray Beach, Florida, then please reach out to us.