While there are many, many reasons people experience memory loss, delusions, and erratic behavior, these are not normal aging-related issues. If you have an elderly loved one experiencing behavior, mood and emotional challenges like these, he or she should have an immediate evaluation by a doctor.
Jennifer Prell, president of Elderwerks Educational Services, offers a list of things to look for which could be causing an older individual to undergo a sudden behavioral change:
- A complete analysis of their blood (complete blood count – CBC) will help evaluate overall health and detect disorders.
- Check for a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Bring a list of all medications to their primary physician to see if they are appropriate doses or if there is a problem with any of them being taken at the same time.
- Depression and lack of sleep can cause dementia-like symptoms.
- If there are problems finding the words in speaking or writing this may be a sign of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, but also is a sign of other issues such as a stroke.
- Alcohol and drug abuse can cause many behaviors.
- Poor judgment may or may not be a sign of dementia. However, if the person always showed poor judgment it will continue as they age.
- A neuropsychologist will evaluate the brain to see what may be causing changes in behavior.
- A neuropsychiatrist will prescribe medications to help control the behaviors, mood swings, delusions, and possibly slow down memory loss.
- Please note Alzheimer’s is not curable and medications for this disease sometimes slow the progression of the disease, but not always.
- There are clinical trials for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and family members over 60 who have family with the disease.
While this list is not a complete list of reasons for changes in behavior, it can be a start for you and your family to help you help your loved one.
Elderwerks Educational Services : 251 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60067: 855.462.0100 : https://www.elderwerks.org/