Monday, November 18, 2019

Personality and Dementia (Alzheimer’s Research, Video 2:58)

Personality can be defined as the combination of qualities that form our distinctive character. It includes our presence, charisma, persona that define our nature and makeup. Like everyone else, people living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have personalities. I have experienced many of their positive and negative personality traits in my role as a hospice volunteer in urban nursing homes and through living life in general.

How is personality connected with dementia? Research on personality and Alzheimer’s disease reveals the following information:

1) Individuals who score higher on conscientiousness (more responsible and self-disciplined) and lower on neuroticism (less anxious and vulnerable to stress) have a reduced risk of developing dementia.

2) With the onset and progression of dementia, there are large changes in personality that are reported consistently by caregivers in retrospective studies and are consistent with the clinical criteria for the diagnosis of dementia.

These implications of personality research are important for identifying those people who are at greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease and the potential of personality-tailored interventions aimed at the prevention and treatment of the disease.

The following video explains how symptoms of dementia get progressively worse and affect a person’s ability to do everyday tasks. The inability to complete tasks can lead to frustration and affect their moods and behaviors. Certain personality traits can also become more prominent. For example, if people with dementia were always viewed as nice, they may become nicer as the disease progresses. On the other hand, if they were always suspicious, they may become paranoid. Wandering is another issue that is also briefly explained in the video.

Frances Shani Parker
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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