In addition to the cognitive impairments that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, there are other types of changes associated with the condition. Alzheimer’s disease may also
affect an individual’s personality and produce behavioral episodes or changes, which are entirely out of character from the person’s once healthy self.
Emotional issues, personality, and behavioral changes:
While some changes are due entirely to neurological damage, other behavioral and psychological issues may be triggered by external factors. For patients with dementia, everything from medications, infections, stress, or finding oneself in unfamiliar surroundings has the potential to elicit extreme and upsetting behavior.
Mood changes that occur fairly early on with Alzheimer’s disease include irritability, anxiety, and depression. In addition to the previously mentioned changes, episodes of anger, aggressive behavior, agitation, restlessness, physical or verbal outbursts, hallucinations, delusions, sundowning, and sleep issues can occur as the disease progresses.
Providing skilled, compassionate care:
It’s essential to manage and address each of these issues with sensitivity and compassion. As disconcerting as significant behavioral changes are to caregivers and loved ones, they are also frightening to the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
At the office of Alzheimer’s Integrative Wellness Group, we provide patients and caregivers with strategies, support, and helpful therapeutic methods specifically designed to address behavioral changes. Andrea Holzner offers skilled guidance and expert training to caregivers, helping them develop coping strategies to defuse upsetting episodes and deescalate heightened emotional states. As an experienced gerontologist specializing in Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Holzner also addresses ways to eliminate stress and improve the environment to support calm. She offers progressive support to individuals and their families in the activities of daily living and helps them to find suitable programs to promote engagement and wellbeing.