No one is truly prepared for the different stages of Alzheimer’s. In fact, as the different stages arrive, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even shocked. Here are six of the Alzheimer’s behaviors that many family caregivers never expect to encounter.
Firstly, one of the unexpected symptoms in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s is aggression. It’s at this point that you must be careful, as your mom could cause physical harm. She becomes frustrated and pushes you over. Then you hit your head. She grabs your hand and twists it, and fractures your wrist. This is normal, but it’s also terrifying when you’re on the receiving end of the aggression.
Anxiety is common in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Your mom’s motor and cognitive skills are diminishing, and it’s frightening to her. You may find her becoming scared of everything. She doesn’t want to leave her home, going out to stores or restaurants terrifies her, and visitors in her home also spike her anxiety.
When your mom reaches this point, then you need to pay close attention. She will begin to make inappropriate decisions about what she eats and how she uses things. In due time, you have to start putting items behind locked doors or cabinets with child-proof latches.
Your mom gets a bottle of Pinesol and uses it as cooking oil. Some people start to eat soap, soil, or paper for whatever reason. She may use toothpaste for eye cream or antibacterial wipes as baby wipes.
Rage is common in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s. Your mom is chatting with you for one minute and suddenly becomes extremely angry. She flies into a rage without any warning, and nothing you say is calming her back down.
Reduction of Inhibitions
For some Alzheimer’s patients, the brain’s deterioration also removes inhibitions. You might be outside taking your mom for a walk, and suddenly start taking off her clothes. You can’t have her expose herself, but she doesn’t know what she’s doing is inappropriate.
Your mom suddenly starts following you everywhere. If you have to go to the bathroom, she follows you. You get a glass of water, and she’s right behind you. You go downstairs to do the laundry. Suddenly, you find her trying to get down the stairs, even though her balance isn’t great. Trailing is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and it’s hard, as it keeps you from your usual routine.
Watching a parent go through the stages of Alzheimer’s is stressful. But, never lose sight of your own self-care needs by ensuring you have Alzheimer’s care aides for your mom. With a professional handling Alzheimer’s home care, the time you spend with your mom is quality time and not focused on her care needs.