Does Alzheimer’s disease ever bring positive personality changes?
Yes, it can — but probably not the way you think, or may be hoping for. What Alzheimer’s can do is essentially erase bad behaviors or attitudes, which fall by the wayside as memory and decision-making abilities fade. When something like alcoholism, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia is present before the onset of Alzheimer’s, it “goes away” as the disease progresses. This has led some people who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s to say dementia or Alzheimer’s has “blessed” the person. If the victim was abusive or harsh beforehand, he or she might become happy, loving and docile afterward. Sometimes the families can joke about having a support group for people who are happy about Alzheimer’s. One man had an alcoholic wife for most of their 50 years together. This included the rearing of six children. As Alzheimer’s symptoms started to take more and more control of her mind, she forgot to drink and became more loving and soft-spoken. It was as if the dementia had brought out the best of her. She showed sides of herself that close friends and relatives had not seen in many years. Her children liked visiting, and she was kind to them. She also showed a good sense of humor. Often, her husband said those years were some of the happiest times of their married lives. In some ways, he was grateful for the dementia that claimed his wife’s mind. He went as far as to suggest that the disease had given him and his wife a second chance to live together happily. She stayed in their home, and he was her primary caregiver until her death. Alzheimer’s is a tragic disease, but sometimes it brings blessings. For more information, check out our Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Guide which is available FREE online by clicking here