Story by: Sara Thompson on August 4, 2022
When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia or any memory disorder, the first thought might be that they will begin to forget things. While that is true, there are a host of other symptoms and changes that will occur.
“As caregivers, we want to know what is normal and if there’s anything we can do,” said Rachel N. Hart, D.O., a geriatric medicine specialist with Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Center.
Here are the causes of changing behavior with dementia, strategies for managing symptoms without medication and considerations for medication if that is deemed necessary.
“About 97% of people at some point may experience neuropsychiatric symptoms,” Dr. Hart said. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) describe a set of behavioral or psychological symptoms. These symptoms can range from delusional to physical (pacing or restless wandering) to verbal (incoherent speech or negativism). It can vary in level of aggression, and can include yelling, hitting or biting.
The 2022 Neuroscience Expo will take place Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Join us for this free event and get the latest information about treatments, rehabilitation and support resources. Presenters will include neurologists and neuropsychologists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; and more.
This year’s expo will have a special focus on the importance of brain health when preventing, managing and caring for neurological conditions.
“Every person is different, and the way the disease presents itself in these symptoms depends on so many factors,” Dr. Hart said.
Behavior changes are affected by the stage of dementia. Early stage dementia can appear with depression or anxiety. In moderate stage, delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia are more common. The type of dementia also plays a role. NPS appear differently in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia or frontotemporal dementia.
Here are five ways to help loved ones if you are a caregiver:
“Most often it comes down to impaired communication,” Dr. Hart said. “We all have needs and desires we want to be addressed. We want companionship and safety. Individuals with dementia are gradually losing the ability to have those needs met and those desires satisfied.”
Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.