Behavioral Changes & Questions to Ask

As a family caregiver, if you notice a behavioral change in your loved one, don’t dismiss it as part of the aging process. These shifts may take you by a surprise and it can be tempting to write them off as just a bad day—or even a string of bad days. But trust that you know your family member well enough to recognize a change in their behavior.

In addition to the lack of noticeable symptoms, many elderly patients may be unable to express their discomfort to caregivers. Thus, it is often the

atypical signs one needs to be aware of, such as:

• Confusion or delirium

• Agitation

• Hallucinations

• Other unusual behavioral changes

• Poor motor skills or loss of coordination

The overarching rule is, if you see a change in behavior, do not accept it. Question it and seek professionals who can help you.

Frequently a UTI can be the cause of behavior changes! When helping my mother and talking with others about caregiving for their relatives, I would hear that if there was a behavioral change in a patient, they looked for a UTI first.

You know the patient often better than anyone else. There may be many reasons for behavioral changes. As a family caregiver, however, you should not simply tolerate behavioral changes and accept them. There may be a simple reason behind them.