Alzheimers Disease and Personality

One of the most distressing aspects of Alzheimers disease is the complete change of personality many people suffer. This is especially distressing for their relatives and friends. The personality and general behaviour of Alzheimer sufferers in the later stages often seems to be in complete contrast to the usual behaviour they have always exhibited in their previous life.

Another symptom of Alzheimers disease and changes in personality is sometimes the appearance of an underlying feature of the person's character which had previously been well hidden. For instance, spiteful traits can be revealed, or a tendency to anxiety, nervousness or aggression both verbal and physical can surface again mainly in the later stages.

Many Alzheimer sufferers remain their old selves albeit with accompanying memory loss and orientation problems. However others can experience wild mood swings which  fluctuate between states of ecstatic happiness and extreme sadness.

In the later stages of Alzheimer's disease, these underlying traits can become very prominent and cause many problems, for example, verbal aggression. They may also experience prolonged periods of anxiety which requires continuous reassurance from carers and friends.

Very often personal hygiene becomes a major issue with Alzheimer disease sufferers. Washing and bathing is often forgotten or becomes very infrequent. Alzheimers disease sufferers who were most fastidious with their personal hygiene may become very lax.

This can be very distressing for their friends and relatives, especially if clothing is stained with urine or faeces. It's not that they are becoming incontinent but rather that the disorienatation means that they are not fully aware of their bodily functions. "Body odour" therefore can become a major problem, as also can soiled  hands and clothing.

Undressing in public and "accidental" flashing or fondling of genitals can become a problem if not carefully monitored. This can also cause untold embarrassment to carers and relatives.

Sometimes it is forgotton by some carers and relatives that it isn't the act of soiling or untoward behaviour that needs to be addressed, but the importance of dignity being maintained at all times. Dignity is a very precious commodity for someone suffering from Alzheimers disease, as this is often all they have left.

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