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Is Increased Shyness a Symptom of Alzheimer's?

by Carole Larkin, Alzheimer's & Dementia Expert
November 29, 2012

Question: Does retreating into one’s own head (becoming quiet, shy, withdrawn) worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms?

Answer: Retreating into one’s own head, as you put it, is many times a symptom of the disease itself. The disease can strike area of the brain where our ability to communicate comes from. That means that people can lose the ability to recall words they used to know, or lose the ability to know the meaning of words, thus substituting an incorrect word for another word in speaking. Also, in the beginning of the diseases people can be/are aware that they have deficiencies in their speech. Therefore, to save themselves from embarrassment, they simply stop speaking as much. That seems to be a natural enough reaction to me. Not particularly helpful in the long run, but useful to the person in the moment.

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Carole Larkin MA, CMC, CAEd, QDCS, EICS is a geriatric care manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. She also trains caregivers in home care companies, assisted livings, memory care communities, and nursing homes in dementia specific techniques for best care of dementia sufferers. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX.

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