Worried you or somebody you love could be suffering from dementia? Behavioural changes could be so subtle that you may not realise they’re happening. Yet, there’s a window of opportunity when you could spot signs of the condition.
As the sky darkens, and the evening draws in, a person with dementia may exhibit cranky behaviour.
Episodes of agitation, aggression or confusion may become more noticeable in the late afternoon or early evening.
This is confirmed by the research charity Alzheimer’s Society, who coined the term “sundowning”.
Signs of agitation include restlessness, pacing up and down, and fidgeting.
Aggression may be verbal – swearing, screaming, shouting or making threats.
It may also be physical, such as hitting, pinching, scratching, hair-pulling or biting.
“Aggression may be linked to the person’s personality and behaviour before they developed dementia,” stated the charity.
For instance, a person with dementia may claim they’re being stolen from, or that their partner is being unfaithful.
Other accusatory statements may include people trying to harm them or there’s an imposter lurking around.
These can be based on delusions or hallucinations, as visuoperceptual difficulties arise.
As people age, personality adjustments are to be expected as wisdom is gained and life experiences mould our attitude to life.
However, for people with dementia, they may be acting differently due to memory loss, language issues and confusion.
People suffering from the brain disease may begin to lose their inhibitions.
This can be exemplified by being rude, undressing in public and touching themselves inappropriately in public places.
Dementia can be a traumatic experience, and help is available from a variety of organisations.
Helpful organisations include the British Psychological Society, Carers Trust and Dementia UK.
People in the early stages of the condition, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, will often experience changes in their mood.
They may become more anxious, depressed or easily annoyed – and they may lose interest in talking to other people.
Interests in hobbies and activities may also decline; if you’re worried, please do speak to your GP.