For many people with Alzheimer’s disease, their behavior will change many times throughout the course of the illness. It can be helpful to use a chart to determine if there is a pattern to the behavior. The chart should include the following areas:
- Time of day of the behavior
- What are they doing when the behavior changes (e.g. bathing, eating, getting into a cab)
- Who is with the person at the time of the behavior
- Where is the person when the behavior changes (kitchen, at a party, at the theater
- What is the noise level in the room/are when the person has a change in behavior.
Download our Tracking Behavioral Changes Word template to aid your observations.
Evaluating the Behavioral Changes
Is there a pattern to the behavior?
- Is it a reaction to a specific person? (Does the person get along with Ms. X except at bath time, but allows Ms. Y to bathe him/her?)
- Is it in response to a specific activity? (Is it only with changing clothes? Can the clothes be cleaned while the person sleeps? Is there another way to redirect the person about their clothes?)
- Is there a modifiable environmental change (for example if it happens when there are lots of noisy people visiting, then do not bring the person to large events. Rather, have one-on-one visits)
- Is it always at predictable time of day (e.g. sundowning?)
If there is no pattern to the behavior,
- Did the behavior come on abruptly?
- Is the person unable to be redirected?
- Have you observed any physical changes in the person? (for example, new incontinence, weakness on one side of the body, loss of consciousness, fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc)
- Is the person a danger to herself or others?
- If you answer yes to any of these questions, contact your physician or nurse practitioner immediately. If you or the patient is in any danger because of these actions, call 911.