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Behavioral Changes I May See In My Spouse As They Begin to Exhibit Dementia

When a person develops dementia their partners are often the first to experience it. As we grow older we tend to laugh off forgetfulness.


We write it off by saying things like, “I must have senior-itis.” We laugh at these statements because, for most of us, forgetting is natural. However, when a person has dementia they can only brush off their forgetfulness for so long before others begin to realize just how profound the behavioral changes are.


happy older man

One of the pieces of going through dementia is getting lost. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/managing-personality-and-behavior-changes-alzheimers

There are many cases of people who have gone out for a walk and then do not come back home. This is written off as “they’ll be back soon.” But instead, they are found and recognized by police a few towns away. They are embarrassed, and scared, and would probably rather not talk about it. But as their partner, there needs to be a discussion about what is happening and what the two of you are going to do to get through it.


Another piece of this puzzle is attitude changes. These can be exacerbated by things being taken away. After a dementia diagnosis or even before, it may be deemed that the person can no longer drive a car. This can feel like a crippling blow to anyone. But for someone dealing with dementia, it is an entirely new level. It is the wrong kind of milestone, in fact, it feels like a roadblock. Add to that a person with a propensity for getting lost and now they are no longer allowed to go for walks alone. These folks fear exactly what everyone else would: They are now trapped in their own home. They feel like they are being babysat by their spouse/partner/home aide. These people will often resent being mollycoddled and may exhibit more signs of anger and resentment.


These folks may also start imagining things. This can lead to very strong arguments from them wherein they think people have taken things from them, that the visiting nurse is not who she claims to be, or even that there are people coming into the house and rearranging their possessions.


With this type of paranoia, there is no way back, there is only redirection. It is important to reassure them that things are fine but the conversation will just start back up in a loop. Therefore, getting someone out of their surroundings or just redirecting them to a different task can be very helpful.

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