II. BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS: IDENTIFYING PRECIPITATING CONDITIONS
There is a great deal of variability in behavioral problems exhibited by people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. For example, some people wander and get lost; others do not. Some may wander during the early part of the illness, while others do not start wandering until later in the progression of the disease.
Behaviors that are associated with Alzheimer's Disease can include short-term memory loss, language difficulty, wandering, agitation, disorientation, incontinence, hiding and misplacing things, angry outbursts and trouble with learning new things. In the later stages of the disease individuals often lose the ability to walk, talk, feed, dress, bathe and otherwise care for themselves.
Many behaviors that are difficult for the caregiver may change week to week. Therefore, it can be helpful for the caregiver to understand the source or precipitant to the behavior as well as the setting in which it occurred in order to more effectively handle or modify it. Being flexible and creative in efforts to safeguard the person as well as support his/her deteriorating ability to carry out daily activities may be important factors in adapting the home environment.
Catastrophic reactions in the person with brain disease can occur very rapidly and result in behaviors that are disturbing to the caregiver (e.g., extreme agitation, abusive behavior, hiding or losing things, wandering). The following are a few of the possible precipitants the caregiver may want to be aware of: