Talk Directly to a Care Advisor

1-800-955-8510

Tips for Managing Difficult Behaviors in Alzheimer’s Patients

Elderly Father Walked by Son

Difficult behaviors are quite common and predictable in individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms are often known as behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, and are ascribed to a large and varied group of behaviors and experiences associated with Alzheimer's disease. As the disease progresses, many people experience these symptoms in addition to memory loss and other cognitive symptoms. Underlying medical conditions, environmental influences, and some medications can cause behavioral symptoms or make them worse.

These symptoms include:

  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Agitation (physical aggression and yelling, emotional distress, an inability to sit still, shredding paper, yelling)
  • Delusional Episodes
  • Hallucinations

A person exhibiting any of these symptoms should receive a thorough medical evaluation, especially when they come on suddenly. These symptoms can be caused or exacerbated by factors other than dementia.

Treatments for behavioral and psychiatric symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease fall into two categories: non-drug interventions and prescription medications.  Behavioral (non-drug) interventions should be tried first. Non-drug interventions include redirection, distraction, finding other outlets for energy (art, music, taking a walk), make the environment less noisy, simplifying tasks, plenty of rest between activities, soften lighting, and DO NOT ARGUE!

Prescription Medications can be effective in many instances, but they must be used carefully and are most effective when combined with non-drug approaches. Consider consulting with a neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist who is trained to diagnosis and treat mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, in older adults.  Be sure to include your primary care physician in the process.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Amy French, Manager of Programs and Education for the Alzheimer's Association Mid South Chapter. The Alzheimer’s Association can be reached locally at 1-800-272-3600.

Comments

Related Articles

5 Stress Relievers for Senior Citizens

Many seniors deal with feelings of stress, frustration, and anxiety on a regular basis....

Read Full Article

Don’t Wait To Tell Your Love One They Have Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a 2015 study, less than half of those who have Alzheimer’s disease, or...

Read Full Article

Finding the Right Solution for People with Dementia

Here are a list of questions you should ask yourself in order to determine what type of...

Read Full Article

Six Strategies to Increase Communication with Individuals with Hearing Loss

How should you approach communicating with someone in your life who suffers...

Read Full Article

Characteristics of the Grieving Process

Have you ever lost an loved one? Learn about the symptoms and characteristics of the...

Read Full Article

How To Make A Great Holiday Experience for Those with Alzheimer’s Disease

Here are some tips on how to make a great holiday experience for those with Alzheimer's...

Read Full Article

Water Exercise for Arthritis Relief - Fun and Effective

The tendency when suffering from arthritis is to keep your joints as motionless as possible,...

Read Full Article

Technological Advances in Digital Sound Processing Hearing Aids

In the 20 years since the introduction of the first digital sound processing hearing aids...

Read Full Article

Medicare versus Long Term Care in a Skilled Nursing Setting

Medicare, Medicaid, Long Term Care and supplemental insurance, along with private funds are...

Read Full Article

Should Seniors Get The Flu Shot?

During National Immunization Awareness Month, it’s important for seniors to learn the...

Read Full Article

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Sign up for our FREE monthly newsletter to receive the most up-to-date information on caring for your elderly parent or loved one

Order your printed copy of Senior Directory today!

Still enjoy flipping through the pages of a printed copy? So do we! Click on the button below to start receiving Senior Directory right at your doorstep!

Order Your Copy

I prefer the digital copy, please.

Speak to one of our advisors 1-800-955-8510