Behavioral Changes in Elderly

Posted on December 11, 2021

Behavioral Changes In Elderly

What does Behavioral Changes look like?

Behavioral changes in seniors with neurological or medical conditions are common. Anger outbursts, repetitive demands, aggression, insomnia, and hoarding are all examples of these behaviors. Caregivers are frequently faced with outbursts or signs of aggression and must determine the cause. Changes in behavior and personality can indicate underlying health issues like dementia, depression, or a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Common Changes In Behavior

Mental Changes

 A senior with a mental illness may present with more severe symptoms of their mental illness. OCD behaviors like saving tissues, worrying about taking their medications, and picking at their skin can disrupt the lives of seniors and their caregivers. Depression may cause hoarding, refusal to bathe, and increased lethargy. Like hallucinations and paranoia, these symptoms may indicate a mood disorder, borderline personality disorder, or a neurocognitive disorder. The patient nor the caregiver is to blame for their mental illness and that talking to their doctor about treatment options can help.


Seniors occasionally lash out at the person who is doing the most for their happiness. Anger and frustration can lead to caregiver abuse. Describe how their actions make you feel. If the abuse is verbal, take a step back. If your loved one needs constant supervision and assistance to stay safe, hire outside help. Call the police, Adult Protective Services, or this Domestic Abuse Hotline if you are being physically abused.

Refusing To shower

Depression, grief, or a learning and memory disorder most often cause changes in hygienic behavior. Sight and smell loss may also be a factor. Determine why an elder has stopped bathing. If depression is the problem, talk to their doctor about therapy and antidepressants. If the senior doesn’t want a family member bathing them, discuss professional assistance. Finally, if your loved one has trouble remembering the time or when they last bathed, be gentle and start with small steps.

Excessive Swearing or inappropriate

When this behavior is out of character for an elder, the start of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of a  disorder may be the cause. If i sudden, a urinary tract infection is another common culprit. UTIs present very differently in seniors than in younger individuals, and symptoms often include behavioral changes like agitation. A technique to stop an uncomfortable tantrum is to distract them with a new subject. Seniors love to reminisce, so sharing stories or looking at old photos may be a good way to get their mind off things

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