If you have genetics that dictate it, it’s possible that you will have memory issues and behavior and personality changes as you age. There is a plethora of information out there about what happens when dementia strikes someone who is aging, and it’s key to remember that knowledge is power in this case. Not all people get dementia as they age, but many do, and the key changes in behavior and personality occur because the aging person is losing neurons in their brain in key areas.
It largely depends on which part of the brain is losing cells as to how the person will respond. However, there are other key factors as well, including diet and lifestyle changes and the person’s history. So, read on to find out more about how dementia changes the brain, and find out a bit about what you can expect if you are dealing with an aging parent or loved one whom you need to be sensitive to.
In the case of the brain, there are different parts that are affected by aging. The frontal lobes are particularly affected. This is the part of the brain right behind the eyes. This part of the brain deals with focus, motivation, and attention. It comprises a large part of what we know as memory, thinking, movement, and behavior. There are other conditions that can affect the frontal lobes, but dementia is especially difficult for this part of the brain.
When these cells are lost due to aging, it’s tough for the aging person to be motivated and focused, and they may experience anhedonia, or loss of pleasure and motivation in things they used to enjoy. Their motivation is so affected that they may be more passive than they have been, and they also may be insensitive to others or behave in a rude manner without realizing they are doing this. This is part of losing the functionality of the frontal lobes. Another part of losing brain function is lower testosterone levels, and this can be remedied through hormones.
There are other things that can change in a person when he or she gets dementia, and changes in behavior related to environment may occur. For many who have Alzheimer’s or aging issues, it may be difficult to respond appropriately to the environment. This person may forget about things, and it may be apparent to everyone that something is going on. They also may have difficulty keeping up with conversations. This could be the source of stress for them because they are no longer able to keep up with what is going on in ways they used to be able to. They may also begin having problems with things that didn’t used to bother them, such as crowds, noise, conversation, and other activity. These things may prove too stimulating for someone who has dementia, and they may be unable to process things the way they used to, thus making them angry with themselves and others for the change.
Some Other Cues
One other thing to notice about people with dementia is that they do not know how to have emotions of their own at times. This is definitely something to be concerned about, for they tend to rely on others to give them cues to their emotions. If you appear to be happy or if you appear to be sad or fearful, they will mirror your emotions instead of having their own emotions. It’s as if the interior of the person has changed because the frontal lobes are not working properly.
There are other things that could go wrong, such as the aging person having a medical condition and not being able to talk about it the right way to get the proper help. This can be the cause of much consternation among people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and you’re sure to find that they need extra help seeing what is going on with them physically as their mind continues to decline.
How to Help
There are things you can do to make sure you are caring for the aging person in your life. The first thing you’ll want to do is find a health care provider who can help your aged friend. There are other changes that occur in people that have nothing to do with dementia, so you can’t always jump to the conclusion that this is the culprit. Oftentimes, medications, infections, or chronic pain can cause symptoms that look like dementia. If your friend is taking any medications, be sure to take a list of them to the doctor you are seeing.
If dementia is indeed the culprit, you’ll possibly be asked to consider medication. It’s not always the answer, though. There are some symptoms of dementia, such as wandering and pacing, that can’t be cured by medication, and there are also medications that have side effects that may worsen symptoms. So, it’s ultimately up to the caregiver in question if medication is the answer to the symptoms of dementia. You should talk these options over carefully. Make sure you know what your options are and what the possible effects could be.
How to Cope
Some of the most important things you can do involve analyzing the behavior as a form of communicating, and you can try to figure out what your loved one or friend is saying to you. You may also want to try to figure out what’s going on to cause the change, if it’s not dementia after all.
Then, you’ll want to look at possible triggers and try to avoid them, always asking if something is simply annoying or if it is actually risky behavior that it could lead to. If dementia is the culprit, try to create a regular routine for the loved one in question, to make sure structure gives them a sense of safety. And finally, try to be calm, accepting, and find other people whom you can talk to, preferably other caregivers. They can really help you.
As you can see, behavior and personality changes come with age at times. If you’re worried about a loved one, follow the tips in this article in order to find out the best way to help them. As the brain changes, and hormone levels shift, things may seem to be unbearable. But, with help and support, you can care for your loved one and give them the best possible treatment for the remainder of their days.