Learning to understand the personality and behavior changes in someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be a difficult process. The article Managing Personality and Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s outlines common changes in those with Alzheimer’s disease and provides tips for caregivers to help manage the changes.

What changes may be seen?

Common changes include a loss of interest (including in one’s appearance), wandering or pacing, imagining things or people, and hiding things. A person with Alzheimer’s may also become more easily upset or angry and may begin hitting. Other unusual changes may be those related to sexual behavior and misunderstanding what is heard or seen.

Other factors that can cause behavioral changes may be due to health-related problems or physical issues. Surroundings in the person’s environment or feelings of anxiety or sadness can also be underlying causes. It’s important to call a doctor if there is uncertainty about what’s causing the problem.

What are some tips to cope?

Behaviors are not able to be stopped but following a daily routine and keeping things simple can help in managing changes. Caregivers can focus on reassuring that they are there to help and avoid getting frustrated, arguing or trying to reason with the person. Using humor or providing other distractions can be helpful. A caregiver should also make sure the environment is safe and that the person has plenty to eat and drink.

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