Question: My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At this point he is acting more like a child. There is nothing left of the man I married. As long as he is this way I intend to take care of him myself. What I want to know is will he eventually turn violent?
Dr. Amy: Everyone is different, so Alzheimer’s is different in each person. A substantial number of Alzheimer’s patients can exhibit some aggressiveness at some point. It can be alarming to see someone who is normally peaceful become loud and angry all of a sudden. The good news is that, by watching carefully, you can notice what triggers an upset and avoid this wherever possible. Frustration is a big one, for example.
There are techniques that can help manage challenging behaviors. I encourage you to look into these now. That way, if your husband does behave in challenging ways, you will be more prepared. Home Instead Senior Care has developed a series of short videos and other resources that I think you may find useful. You can check these out at: homeinstead.com. Just click on the Alzheimer's disease tab at the top of the page. They have also developed helpforalzheimersfamilies.com. Both are excellent resources. At the same time, there are medications that can also help control aggression. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about this.
If you ever feel you cannot manage any behavioral changes, seek out professional help. A good starting point is your local Alzheimer's Association.
I am sure you find the changes your husband is going through difficult. I send you strength and encourage you to build a support network for yourself so you do not shoulder the burden all by yourself.
I am giving a live web chat on difficult behaviors and Alzheimer's on November 30. I invite you to join if you have time. You can register at the helpforalzheimersfamilies.com page.
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