Is It “Alzheimer’s Agitation?” Or Agitation From Pain?

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s often hard to tell. And if they’re far enough along in the disease, they won’t be able to tell you. So you’ve got to be on the lookout for sudden bursts of agitation, seemingly without reason. The reason may be pain.

You may have to determine whether your loved one is in the “cycle of pain” – pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression…pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression, etc.

If your senior loved one has a history of infection, arthritis, joint or muscle problems, inflammation, or headaches, you should be monitoring their behavior for signs of sudden change. It could be something that requires treatment, for example, a urinary tract infection or a bad headache.

A run-of-the-mill sore – on the foot, for example – can be very painful for seniors. So can a flare-up of arthritis. If these things happened to you, or I, we’d be able to explain them to our family, and, if necessary, to our doctor. But Alzheimer’s/dementia patients often can’t. So you have to be aware of other things, such as facial expressions or body language. You don’t need to be a psychologist or doctor to look at a senior’s face and see pain or discomfort.

Medical problems, however, are not always the cause of agitation in Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s the medicines they take to combat these problems. Who among us – healthy or not – has not experienced adverse reactions from certain medications? I know of a couple that sometimes make me feel as if I’m crawling out of my skin. But I can address those issues with my husband, or my doctor. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia often can’t.

The Alzheimer’s/dementia journey is a long, hard one…and the patient’s not the only victim. Family members are victims, as well. But support is available.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been working with South Florida families affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia for the past 33 years. We’ve helped thousands of them on the Alzheimer’s/dementia journey. With professionalism. With a steadfast commitment to protect their assets, preserve their rights, and get them the help they need. And, when necessary, with a soft shoulder.

You don’t have to make this journey alone! We’re just a phone call away.

Posted in Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos
One comment on “Is It “Alzheimer’s Agitation?” Or Agitation From Pain?
  1. markyl says:

    I helped move my mom from a one beoordm independent apartment in a residential care facility to a studio apartment. Mom is running out of money and I quickly. No one really anticipated this. The good news is that she has remained independent longer than we thought. (Mom has Parkinsons and a long term care policy that will kick in when she needs assisted living.) The bad news is that she will probably run out of money before she needs the care. I am exhausted and living in a fog. My sister is helping her unpack and settle in this weekend. She flew in from CA leaving her husband and two young girls who start school on Monday. I don’t think she will get everything done with mom because mom will have to get rid of at least 50% more stuff to really make the small space work. I dread dealing with the left overs when she leaves. Mom has Parkinsons and needs more and more help. I thought I was in the thick of things 8 years ago when she was diagnosed and she moved from her condo. Now I realize that it is really just being for me. The last years of a move, multiple falls, emergency room visits, managing multiple medications well that is seeming easy now. I am not looking forward to the next stage. I am not looking forward to aging myself.

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