During an aggressive outburst, a senior with Alzheimer’s can become verbally or even physically combative. Here are some ways to prevent outbursts and tips on how to handle them if they do occur.
Preventing OutburstsOutbursts usually arise from frustration, so try to find ways to keep your aging loved one’s stress levels at a minimum. Reducing stress starts with a calm, quiet environment. Other stress-reduction techniques include:
- Mild exercise, provided your loved one’s doctor feels it’s safe and appropriate
- Simple activities that help your loved one feel useful and needed, like washing vegetables for dinner or folding laundry
- Social activity, preferably one-on-one
- Playing your parent’s favorite music
Monitoring MedicationsSeniors with Alzheimer’s are likely taking multiple medications to manage the disease as well as other health conditions. The side effects of different prescriptions could cause your loved one to become aggressive. Monitoring the medications allows you to determine if the irrational behavior begins after the medicines have been taken. If so, report these findings to the doctor, who may decide the medications are too strong or the dosage needs to be altered. The doctor may also find that taking two specific pills together causes aggressive behavior, and he or she may need to change the treatment plan entirely. 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 home care service provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Handling Aggressive BehaviorDuring an outburst, it’s important to stay calm because your loved one can pick up on your emotions. Getting frustrated, yelling, or berating your loved one will only escalate the situation. As the outburst is happening, you’ll also want to do the following:
- Avoid any attempts to reason with your loved one. When agitated, a senior with Alzheimer’s has a distorted perception of reality. You’re not going to change his or her perception by arguing or offering lengthy explanations. In fact, it could exacerbate the situation.
- Analyze the situation to try to identify the cause of the outburst. If possible, remove the source of the frustration, divert your parent’s attention elsewhere, or take him or her to a calmer environment.