Emotion processing in Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: Coping with your family member's changing behaviors

A dementia patient's unexpected changes in behavior can cause the most difficulty for her family. Emotion processing in Alzheimer's disease or dementia changes the way a family member reacts. In the most fundamental ways, your family member cannot handle stress.

Your family member may act in ways that you find irritating or embarrassing. Some behaviors have more impact on the person suffering from dementia. For example, refusing to take needed medications can have a serious impact on your family member's well being.

You may feel very frustrated when you try to reason with your family member and then find that he still continues with the same behavior. For example, you have a serious conversation with your father about his deteriorating driving skills. Your father agrees to stop driving. The next day you find out that your father found the extra set of car keys and drove to the grocery store.

While we often focus on memory loss as the main challenge of dementia, an equal and sometimes greater challenge is loss of judgment and the inability to reason.

Follow these links to find suggestions for dealing with difficult behaviors.

Anger and lashing out
Accusing Family Members of Stealing or Lying
Sundowning and restlessness in the evening
Unsafe Driving

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