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Why does my husband keep growling?

Answered by Karen Garner

June 10, 2016

My husband was diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer's in December 2014...about 3 months ago he started this constant growling from the time he gets up till he goes to bed...he does not do it during the night...when I've approached him with the question he does not realize he is doing it...he says I'm growling at him. Can you give me any information on this and if it's common to Alzheimer's patients?

Thank you for writing in with your question. This is a good one as so many caregivers must contend with a variety of “noises” that come from their charge but there are very few ways of helping with this problem.

Yes, it is very common to dementia patients, with some screaming, laughing, growling, singing loudly, etc. It seems there are many forms of noises patients can make for long lengths of time, in turn, driving caretakers a little crazy.

A few simple steps you can try include distracting him with a simple task, turning on some light music in the background, asking him to take deep breaths or possibly doing some movement of some kind (stretches, moving positions, relocating to another room,etc), give him something to drink (swallowing will interrupt the noises, at least momentarily).

It can be quite unnerving to have the constant sounds he is making follow you around your home, and I commend you for your patience. If it get worse or to the point you can no longer stand it, there are medication options through his care provider, but I would suggest this as a last resort. I also hope you have someone you can ask to come and sit with him for a few hours to give yourself a break. Please do not be shy about seeking help, it will enable you to be an even better caregiver than you already are! Good luck!!

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