It’s not unusual for seniors with Alzheimer’s to exhibit aggressive behavior from time to time. There are many possible reasons for an unpleasant attitude. Sometimes knowing the cause can prevent further upsets. However, regardless of the reason, it’s important to remain calm and not take the aggression personally.
Remember that your loved one acts out because of the progressive changes occurring in his or her brain. While the behavior may be shocking at times, resist responding with anger, which only exacerbates the situation. Despite exhibiting irrational anger or aggression, your loved one is still a beloved family member. Regardless of how childish your loved one’s behavior may appear, always treat him or her as an adult, and be respectful.
Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with Alzheimer’s. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Columbus Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Determine the Cause of the Behavior
Your loved one may no longer be able to find the words to accurately express when he or she needs help. Your parent might need to use the bathroom, be in physical pain, or be tired or hungry. Out of frustration, he or she may become angry and aggressive. Approach your loved one slowly, and speak softly. Ask simple questions and allow time to answer. Consider using symbol sets. Something similar to a picture book, which features images of everyday tasks, foods, and a pain scale, can help your parent convey his or her needs. Your loved one merely needs to choose the image that expresses the need.
Watch for Sundowning Syndrome
You may notice your loved one becoming anxious, paranoid, or aggressive later in the afternoon. Take note of the time of day when the aggression takes place. When the behaviors become a pattern, sundowning syndrome may likely be the cause. The condition occurs secondary to visual changes occurring in the brain. The waning afternoon sun creates shadows that may cause confusion. During late afternoon, turn on indoor lights to eliminate the problem.
The cognitive challenges that accompany Alzheimer’s often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecare provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
With any instance of aggressive behavior, using diversion can interrupt the thought processes causing the problem. Since seniors with Alzheimer’s have diminished short-term memory, they soon forget the reasons for their anger. Ask your loved one to listen to music with you. Perhaps invite him or her to go for a walk to smell the flowers, hear the birds, or watch children play in the park. Consider some of his or her past favorite pastimes when selecting a diversion. Trial and error can help you determine the techniques that work best.
Your loved one may demonstrate reluctance and become aggressive when you approach him or her to accomplish certain personal care tasks, or he or she may adamantly refuse to take a bath or change clothes. Instead of suggesting it’s bath time or your loved one needs to perform some other task, simply engage him or her in conversation while calmly guiding him or her to the bathroom. Refrain from arguing. Sometimes walking away is the only option. Take the situation in stride and accept that your loved one isn’t endangering him or herself by refusing.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Columbus homecare provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.