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Understanding Alzheimer's Behaviors and How to Handle Them
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Understanding Alzheimer's Behaviors and How to Handle Them

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Alzheimer's disease is a complex condition that affects not only memory but also behavior. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be challenging, especially when faced with unexpected behaviors like aggression, anxiety, wandering, and suspicion.

Alzheimer's Aggression

One of the most challenging behaviors caregivers encounter in Alzheimer's patients is aggression. Individuals may suddenly become verbally or physically aggressive, leaving caregivers feeling bewildered and concerned. To manage this behavior effectively:

Identify the Cause: Try to pinpoint the root cause of the aggression. It could be something as simple as thirst or discomfort. Reflect on what happened just before the outburst.

Maintain Calmness: Stay composed and speak in a soothing, encouraging manner. Focus on understanding their feelings rather than the situation itself.

Create a Peaceful Environment: If environmental factors like noise or distractions triggered the aggression, remove or reduce them. Take the individual to a quiet place.

Engage in Enjoyable Activities: Divert their attention towards activities they enjoy, which can help them relax and ease their frustration.

Alzheimer's Anxiety

Anxiety often accompanies Alzheimer's, leading to behaviors like pacing or restlessness. To help alleviate anxiety:

Speak Calmly and Reassuringly: Use a gentle, calm, and reassuring tone when communicating with the individual.

Offer Distractions: Provide a favorite activity or hobby as a distraction to redirect their attention away from their worries.

Eliminate Triggers: Identify and remove any potential triggers from their environment that might be contributing to their anxiety.


Wandering is a concerning behavior in Alzheimer's patients as it can put their safety at risk. To prevent wandering:

Secure Entrances: Use locks that are difficult for the individual to open on doors and windows. Consider placing locks higher up on doors where they are less likely to notice them.

Carry Identification: Ensure the individual has identification on their person at all times. This can be crucial if they do wander and need assistance.

Secure Outdoor Spaces: Fence the yard with secure gates, allowing the person to enjoy fresh air without leaving the safety of the yard.

Daytime Activity: Encourage daytime activities and exercise to reduce restlessness, which may curb the urge to wander, especially at night.


Alzheimer's can lead to suspicions and accusations against family members and caregivers. Handling this behavior requires patience and understanding:

Stay Calm: Remember that these accusations are not personal; they are a symptom of the disease. Maintain your composure.

Avoid Arguments: Engaging in arguments will not help and may worsen the situation. Instead, validate their feelings without agreeing with false accusations.

Duplicates and Organization: Keep duplicates of frequently sought items on hand. This can help reduce the stress caused by misplaced belongings.

Communicating with an Alzheimer's Patient

Effective communication is vital when dealing with Alzheimer's behaviors. Here are some communication tips:

Maintain Positivity: Use positive body language, tone, and expressions to create a pleasant and comforting atmosphere.

Establish Eye Contact: Ensure you have their attention by addressing them by name and maintaining eye contact. Eliminate distractions like the radio or television.

Keep It Simple: Use short, straightforward sentences and ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, or by making a simple choice.

Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to non-verbal cues and encourage the use of gestures to express their needs.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be emotionally demanding, but with understanding, patience, and these coping strategies, you can provide the support and care they need.

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