My Spouse’s Personality Has Changed: Is it Alzheimer’s?

October 13, 2009 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

You’re worried. Your spouse or perhaps your parent has changed.

You don’t know exactly how to describe it, but he’s just not himself lately. He’s less engaged, or maybe he’s more agitated and can’t seem to rest. Maybe he fixates on odd things, or is starting to lose his words, or he’s having  sundowning issues and gets more upset late in the day.

Maybe it’s your mother you’re concerned about. My mother, who didn’t show Alzheimer’s symptoms until her late 80s, became over-the-top anxious. She was always thinking someone’s breaking in her house or stealing from her.  I also started noticing that she was making excuses for losing something, not calling, or why she had moved an object from one place to another or why something broke.

Is it Alzheimer’s? It could be. Alzheimer’s gives us clues long before we recognize or acknowledge them.

But it’s also one of our biggest fears so we tend to jump to that conclusion.

Looking back, I now see that some of my mother’s behavior, worries, and anxieties were probably an indication of the Alzheimer’s that was to come. I also know that I enabled her for a while by going along with her excuses. She wanted to stay in her own home and I knew that was important to her, but she needed more help than I realized.

If you have concerns, ask your doctor–or make an appointment with a geriatric physician or neurologist. Even if they dismiss your concerns, don’t give up. Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder and ultimately, it has to be diagnosed by a “brain doctor,” a neurologist. Why go to all that trouble? Because there are medications that can help.

How to Alzheimer’s medications work?

According to the National Institute of Health, here are some basic facts to help you understand more about Alzheimer’s Meds:

  • Alzheimer’s medications are cholinesterase inhibitors
  • They can be prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. 
  • These medications may help delay or prevent symptoms from becoming worse, but they don’t work the same on everyone, and they may only work for a limited time.
  • These medications may help control some behavioral symptoms such as anger and agitation. 

Medication names are: 

  • Razadyne®, (which was Reminyl® and is now offered in a generic form). 
  • Exelon® (rivastigmine)
  • Aricept® (donepezil)

As a caregiver, daughter, son, or spouse, you have to be your loved one’s advocate. Personality changes are clue that something’s going on. You have to take the initiative to educate yourself, ask questions, and don’t give up.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving, sundown syndrome. Tags: , , , .

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Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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