Mom gets urinary tract infections (UTI) fairly often, and when she does, her entire personality changes. She becomes impatient, argumentative, loud and demanding. These are not her usual behaviors, so it is always a symptom of something else going on, and usually it’s a UTI. Fortunately, where Mom lives, the staff catches her abnormal behavior and orders a urine sample. If they don’t, I order it.
Another thing that happens is her handwriting becomes barely legible when she is sick, upset or stressed. I can pick up an old crossword puzzle from a week ago and see a good day or a not so good day just by her handwriting.
If Mom is sleeping more often than usual, that is another sign of something being off. Depression and being weepy, or as she calls it, a “heavy heart” day, is also common with Alzheimer’s. If her mood doesn’t change for the better within about 4 days, I dig a little deeper and get a result.
If you don’t know your loved one very well, odd behaviors can be easily put in a category of, “Oh, it’s just the way they are, I can’t keep up how often their mood changes.” However, I learned to see very specific and undeniable symptoms with Mom that tell a bigger picture. UTI’s are common and often go untreated. Get a diagnosis from a urine sample ASAP.
What Is True For Me: I learned to see signs of abnormal behavior beyond Alzheimer’s. Since Mom is already challenged with this stupid disease, and my goal is to keep her safe, calm and happy, I pay attention to the “happy” and “calm,” especially when I’m seeing “off” behaviors. Then I dig deeper.