Cyt, in the case of my Mom and her Alzheimer's, I would have to say YES! She would complain about things that never bothered her before. And she complained incessantly. Nothing satisfied her. Her frustration level was elevated. She stopped socializing and became more withdrawn. Her emotional swings from euphoria to hysteria were dramatic and irrational. She would do things she would never think of doing before. She started several feuds with neighbors and was after anybody that crossed her path. Her favorite target was my Dad. He did nothing, didn't take her anywhere, and was just generally doing all the wrong stuff.... despite the fact that she knew he had Vascular Dementia and was unable to do any of the things she wished for. Not to mention staying angry at "the girls" for something all the time. She would bad mouth one of us to the other and turn around and reverse it depending on who she was talking to. This entire time she was covering up her inabilities by explaining them away and blaming them on somebody else.
The other thing I noticed first was her inability to understand numbers. Paying bills twice or not at all. Unable to balance her check book (even though she did book keeping her entire life). Missing appointments even though they were written on a calendar. Inability to understand finances and make good decisions.
Those were the two that tipped me off and then I saw the other signs as well. Do you have somebody that you suspect has Alzheimer's?
Yes Deb I do, and thank you for this reply. I'm sorry you are going through this, it is so difficult, especially with the personality changes. The memory loss at first I could handle but living with a stranger is difficult, to say the least! At times I feel so hopeless.
I do understand. It is the personality changes that get to most of us care givers We can deal with the forgetting and even the need for help with personal care. It is the personality changes that tug at our hearts.
This disease is a hopeless disease. It is a terminal disease with no cure and no hope for improvement. It just gets worse and worse. But your job as a care giver is not hopeless. Dad had Vascular Dementia, diagnosed in 1998 and died March of 2010. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006 after showing symptoms for about 2 years. She is now in a locked Alzheimer's unit and I see her at least every other day. She has lost her ability to communicate and frequently doesn't know who I am. Yes, this disease is hopeless....
But bringing her a treat that makes her smile or seeing her laugh at some antic is priceless. Knowing that she is getting the best care possible lets me know that what I am doing is worth while. I have hope that I can make her final years a little better I have no expectations of her. She will never be "normal". So I accept who she is and find as much joy as possible just being with her and making sure she has everything possible to make her journey the best it can be.
A few things will help. Learn all you can about the disease and what to expect. Know what you are dealing with and what you can do to make it easier for you both. Have a plan for her future care no matter what happens. Search out all resources you can utilize in her care from respite, facilities of different levels, and finally Hospice. Arm yourself with knowledge because that raises the fog created by the unknown. Then take a lesson from your loved one and stay in the moment with them. When they smile, smile with them. When they are frustrated, understand that their acting out is the only way they can express their emotions. Validate their distress and let them know you are there for them. Be in the best frame of mind you can be in because they will follow you. They pick up on nonverbal cues. That ability is located in our primal brain and stays with them. So if you are upbeat and happy it is contagious. Find those moments of joy that will carry you both through this long journey
What stage is your loved one it and where are they living now?
I would like to clarify that the basic personality of the person with dementia will not change.
It is not like a person will become another person. If the person is outgoing, he is still outgoing. The person has some basic value system and he/she won't change that with dementia.
I would like to say the habits/life styles do change due to memory loss and some disabilities caused by dementia. That is, if the person forgets the numbers, he/she won't be able to do the billings and accounting. It also depends on the stage. In early stage, the person will try to hide his memory loss and thus becomes a little strange in terms of the cope strategy.
Later on as the person forgets more, he/she may not know the family but the family style and habit will stay the same. I would say they just cannot carry out the same style due to dementia. The sicker they are, the more disabled they are.
Also they have pride. As they lose memory, they would not remember what is supposed to be. For example, my FIL loves to jog. Now he has severe Alzheimer's so he cannot walk on his own anymore. Back then, he would have been very upset that he could not walk. Now he does not remember that he needs to walk and he gets used to it. He does not want to say that he cannot walk - it is his pride. Not only because he does not understand why he cannot walk, but he also cannot remember that he should/desires to jog anymore. In moderate stage, he would have asked why he cannot walk.
Relatively the personality will change but the person himself will not change. It is still the same person but that person is now disabled or retarded depending on the stage.
I really don't like to say the person does not exist - he/she is just disabled due to dementia.
my mom was the first to tell us that something was wrong, she would often say her brain was fuzzy or half asleep... she did not change personality but did have a shorter temper, silly things would set her off, the losing things was a awful time, she even called the police on us for stealing her stuff, we giggle now but back then it was mighty stressfull for all. I would defently get your loved one checked out and ask for an assesment if you suspect alz. there are many tests that they can administer. talking to your doctor is the first step...
The following user gives a hug of support to jagsmu: luyingjie (01-24-2012)
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age can be conribute to ("half asleep, fuzzieness) disorders of trhe brain can be very hard to dx. keep going at it, tell them the syptoms and hopefully they will find the problem. that s al i can really give you, and thats pretty mcuh what everyhone else can give you here, alll i can do is wish for the best and hope you get what you watn
Last edited by xbadfishx; 11-25-2011 at 02:02 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to xbadfishx For This Useful Post: luyingjie (01-24-2012)
It depends on what you call personality changes. Yes, I can see some of the basic characteristics that Mom has always had but I also see changes in her ability to conform, control, and express correctly. Her social filters are gone and her ability to tolerate has gone as well. This has caused behavioral changes. As I have said, Mom was always stubborn. Before dementia it was an asset but during dementia it has been a source of much trouble and dismay. So a personality trait may be there but the behavior totally and completely different. What we general look at is the behavior and that definitely changes!
The following user gives a hug of support to Gabriel: luyingjie (01-24-2012)
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Yes there are behavior changes and etc. The person indeed would become very strange in the end. However, this is not as same as some mental disorder like multiple personality or disssociated personality or that kind of stuff. The person remains the same except that he is more confused and loses more abilities.