Behavior and Alzheimer’s

As my mother declines into new stages, her behavior has varied from repetitive and calm to now, repetitive and anxious. Alzheimer’s brings a daily new normal and just when I think I have one pattern down, something new begins. I try to be hopeful, but you’d think I’d learn by now. Unfortunately as the sole caregiver, I’m never given the opportunity to just breathe and step back for a moment, an hour or hours to get focused. I’m learning and experiencing on the fly. Thank goodness I have good multi-tasking skills.

I really thought at this stage of the journey, she’d be calmer, instead just the opposite is happening. She’s becoming more anxious, has repetitive gestures such as wringing her hands, her cognition and thought process is getting choppier, and nothing seems to relax her.

As with her behavior, Alzheimer’s brings about varied behavior, often frustrating behavior that usually leads to tensions between the caregiver and person with the illness. Which I know all too well. Fellow caregivers we have to remember (continual note to self) that they can’t help what they’re saying and doing no matter how hard it is or how mean the backlash towards us. And I say note to self because I’m often finding my reactions to be sharp, because my stress and tired level is high. It’s usually when I’m in the moment, that I have to stop, have a self chat and talk myself off the emotional and reactive ledge.      

The Alzheimer’s Association has provided a list on behaviors, their cause(s) and how to respond to these behaviors. The behaviors mentioned are: AggressionAgitationConfusionHallucinationsRepetitionSleeplessness and SundowningSuspicionUnpredictable SituationsWandering.

On this page of behaviors there is also a brochure pdf that you may download that gives more detailed information on this topic.

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