Behavior Symptoms

#1 Delusions

A delusion is a fixed, false idea. Your loved one may forget she's hidden her purse under the pillow and then become convinced that someone has broken in and stolen it. She may not recognize her own home and be sure she has moved. Sometimes delusions have mysterious origins; the individual may become convinced that there is someone in the yard trying to break into their house. The delusions often go away naturally or may become less alarming.


#2 Wandering

Some people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias are potential wanderers. They may get confused and think they need to be somewhere else or want to leave the home to look for a family member. Be very careful to keep your loved one safe, particularly if you take them out for an errand or shopping.


#3 Refusal

Your loved one may refuse to accept your help out of pride or lack of acceptance and understanding of your role. This is most common during times when you are assisting them with the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) or engaging them in activities.

Activities of daily living can include:

  • Bathing—assisting with a shower, tub bath or bed bath
  • Grooming—assisting with skin, hair, oral, nail care and shaving
  • Dressing—selecting appropriate clothing, changing soiled clothing
  • Toileting—assisting in the bathroom or changing protective undergarments
  • Eating—assistance in preparing the meals, using the proper utensils, guiding the hand to their mouth


#4 Aggression

People with dementia can often become frustrated and angry. They may be aware that they are not able to do the things they've always done, misunderstand us, or simply lose patience.


#5 Repetition

Your loved one may do or say something over and over - like repeating a word, question or activity. Repetition is usually a sign that he or she feels fearful or insecure, or may be looking for something comfortable and familiar.


#6 Agitation

Your loved one might feel agitated because of a number of medical conditions, medication interactions or any circumstances that worsen the person's ability to think. Situations that might lead to agitation could include a change of routine, moving to a facility, or even just a change to a room or a loud TV.


#7 Sexual Inappropriateness

One sign of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias is change in personality. A person who was once very reserved and quiet might end up being aggressive and loud. As children and young adults, we were taught that there are some things that we do not discuss in public. A person with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias may lose that ability and may be sexually inappropriate. Your parent might even confuse you for their spouse.


#8 False Accusations

Your loved one may blame you for something you didn't do. Usually this can be resolved if you apologize or gently cue them that you are not the guilty party.