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Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Managing Care

Caring for an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s symptoms is exhausting. One of the most difficult illnesses to manage at home is Alzheimer’s disease. The reasons for this are many. But one of the most difficult Alzheimer’s symptoms are the unpredictable, erratic, sometimes aggressive behaviors.

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Alzheimer’s Symptoms Most Common

Some of the most common symptoms are erratic behaviors such as:

These symptoms are all common and normal with the disease progression. There are a number of ways to help manage difficult Alzheimer’s symptoms. One primary way is through re-direction.

Redirection- What is it?

Re-direction can involve responding calmly, reducing stimuli and then introducing an activity or distraction. Soft music or a simple activity can be helpful.Try this simple music box player for elderly with dementia.

Sometimes the person living with dementia will become so agitated, confused, or suspicious that it will result in aggression. Usually this type of acting out is because he or she cannot express him or herself fully, causing deep frustration.

Aggressive behaviors could be verbal like yelling, or even physical like hitting. The first step is to try and identify triggers or pain points and remove them. If a specific situation or activity causes aggressive behavior, it is best to avoid that activity in the future. Using a calm tone, try to reassure them and use the re-direction tactic to suggest a different activity.

Sundowning Behaviors

Alzheimer’s symptoms often include sleep disturbances. Day/night confusion is a common phenomenon known as sun-downing. Sun downing is when a patient with Alzheimer’s experiences increased confusion late in the day or at night. This is more common in the mid to later stages of the illness. 

It is never a good idea to immediately introduce a sleep inducing medication to manage this behavior. The risks of such medications for elderly individuals, especially those who have dementia are too high. Your loved one could be at a higher risk of increased confusion and potentially falls with injury which can be detrimental or even fatal.

Non Pharmaceutical Ways to Reduce Symptoms

Lastly, it is important to make others aware. Alzheimer’s is nothing to be ashamed of. The trend is such that by 2050, a projected 13.8 million people will be living with it in the US alone. Barring any medical breakthrough to prevent or cure the disease, the push to inform, educate and support those living with it will be crucial.

READ MORE about how to keep your loved one with dementia active and engaged…10 Easy Activities for Alzheimer

The risks are high for caregiver burnout when caring for a loved one with cognitive impairments. READ MORE about avoiding caregiver burnout

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