Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia isn’t easy. It can be one of the hardest, most emotional health care journeys families encounter in their life. It isn’t widely known that there are actually 100 different types of dementia. Lewy body and Frontal Lobal are a couple of examples. Regardless of what type of Dementia your loved one is diagnosed with, they present very similar behaviors. One, of course, is memory loss. In addition to memory loss, new behaviors may be present that don’t seem “normal” for that individual. Listed below are some examples of behaviors attributed to the disease.

We know Alzheimer’s Disease causes brain cells to die. When that happens, the brain’s capabilities decrease over time. Even in the mid-late stages, lucid moments occur. It doesn’t mean they are getting better. Unfortunately, until the Alzheimer’s Association ( and researchers from the pharmaceutical industry come up with a cure, it will only get worse.

It is common for individuals when they first realize or are told they have dementia/Alzheimer’s disease to “fake it until they make it”. Meaning, individuals try incredibly hard to cover up the memory loss and confusion around friends, family, and coworkers. Commonly they will attempt to get through the day without anyone noticing that they didn’t know what they were doing. They will answer yes to questions that they feel yes would be the correct answer. Anxiety is common during this period, as they are worrying they “get it right”.

Behaviors start to change and become obvious to those that know them the best. If asked, they may deny that anything is wrong. It can be incredibly difficult for family and friends to deal with. Particularly paranoia.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors to Watch for:

  • Making up an excuse when forgetting an appointment.
  • Getting upset, worried, or angry more easily.
  • Hitting family and others.
  • Wandering away from home.
  • Showing unusual or inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Hygiene isn’t important to them anymore.
  • Hiding things, or accusing others of hiding things. Acting paranoid.

Coping with paranoia is one of the most difficult behaviors to deal with. Paranoia is a type of delusion in which a person may believe, without a reason, that others around them are mean, lying, unfair, or feel others are out to get them. The paranoia stems from their memory loss and gets worse as their memory gets worse. The following is a list of paranoid thoughts that are common among those with Alzheimer’s disease when they can’t remember:

  • When he/she puts something somewhere, the individual may think someone is taking or hiding his/her things.
  • If you are the individual’s caregiver. The individual with Alzheimer’s may think that you are a stranger.
  • Individuals they have been introduced to may think that they are a stranger who could harm them.
  • Directions were recently given. The individual may think they are being tricked.

Paranoia is a common way of expressing loss. No other explanation makes sense to the individual with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Therefore, they blame or accuse others because no other explanation makes sense to them.

Dealing with Paranoia:

  • Don’t overreact if blamed for something.
  • Don’t argue. It will only upset the individual and frustrate everyone around.
  • Remind the individual that they are safe.
  • Explain to others that the person is acting this way due to his/her Alzheimer’s/Dementia.
  • Be gentle with your speech and use gentle hugging to show the person you care.

It is common for seniors, in general, to worry about someone they don’t know coming into their home or space. They don’t have to have an Alzheimer’s/Dementia diagnosis. I thought I had heard everything after being in senior living for 23 years (facilities and Home Health). Will they take anything, will they hurt me, what if I don’t like them? Will they retaliate? Those are all realistic thoughts. Never argue about it not happening. Instead, encourage them to accept the assistance.

Work with a company that has vetted the caregivers before putting them to work, and also requires liability insurance. 99.0% of the time, no problems will occur, especially if working with a company, and not hiring a private aide that came recommended by a family friend. Some private duty caregivers are very nice and attentive. It is when they can’t make it, leaving the individual with Alzheimer’s/Dementia on their own.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s/Dementia takes patience and reports of a decline in condition usually is reported by their caregiver. Consistency in care is important. Seeing the same caregiver/caregivers every day will help them gain trust. The client will also rely on them for reminders and transportation to appointments. Trust will be gained, sometimes slowly, but the paranoia may subside a little bit when they are comfortable with their caregiver. When there is a private aide, when that aide gets sick, or needs off, she doesn’t have a replacement. When you use a company, they can send a fill-in when their usual aide needs time off.

However, you decide to set up care is a family decision. It might seem difficult to arrange care over a long distance, but we do it regularly. Through email, phone calls, and texts, we are always in contact with out-of-state/country families.  Paradise Home Health Care is happy to assist our potential clients to navigate through the world of home health. There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding Medicare, what they actually will provide, and the difference between an advantage plan and Traditional Medicare.

Alzheimer’s/Dementia is one of the most devastating diseases that a family can encounter. Remember it is important to try to educate yourself on the disease. Join some support groups where it is for caretakers only. Even if they have an aide assisting, it is important for you as a family to understand what the disease process is like. It will make it a lot easier to interact and communicate with your loved one with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.