What Can Cause Personality Changes in the Elderly?

Changes in the Elderly

People change throughout their lives, so changes in our beliefs, attitudes, and behavior are normal and expected. However, dramatic personality changes usually don’t happen, especially not over a short period.

There are many health issues and life events that can cause personality changes in the elderly. Sudden personality changes may signal underlying medical problems that need immediate attention, so family members and caregivers need to know what is normal in terms of personality changes.

Your loved one may suddenly start experiencing mood swings or become depressed, irritable, short-tempered, apathetic, or angry. Also, they may show impulsiveness, social withdrawal, aggression, or paranoia. These behavior changes need to be addressed, so make sure to mention them to the older person’s health provider.

Sudden personality changes in the elderly can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Grief due to the loss of a loved one or freedom
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Poor sleep during a prolonged time

Personality changes in seniors are often one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the most common behavior changes in seniors involve impulsive behavior, aggressive behavior, apathy, compulsive behavior, and anxiety.


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