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5 Methods for Managing Aggression in a Senior Loved One with Dementia

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One of the most difficult aspects of caring for a senior with dementia is managing aggressive behavior. Even if your senior loved one used to be kind and passive, this disease could eventually impact the area of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. Here are a few tips to help you manage dementia-related outbursts and confrontations as quickly and safely as possible.

1. Check for Irritants & Triggers

When you are caring for a loved one who has dementia, you may begin to notice that certain stimuli trigger unwanted reactions. Identifying and removing those triggers from your loved one’s environment could reduce the frequency of the outbursts and enhance his or her overall demeanor. Some of the most common triggers include shadows, loud noises, reflective objects, and bright lights. You won’t ever be able to completely remove those triggers from your loved one’s life, but you can eliminate some of the distractions that agitate him or her. 

Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Wellesley seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

2. Make Sure Your Loved One Isn’t in Pain

Many seniors with dementia have a difficult time telling their caregivers when they’re in pain, which is why some serious health conditions can go unnoticed for years. At least once every few months, schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor to screen for common medical issues such as gout and arthritis. You must also regularly check for visible injuries such as lacerations, bed sores, and rashes. The aggressiveness could be the result of an ongoing medical issue that needs to be treated.

3. Communicate Calmly & Clearly

Trying to communicate with a senior who has dementia is never going to be easy, but you need to remain as calm as possible whenever you interact with your loved one. When you notice a shift in your loved one’s disposition, try to make eye contact and ask if he or she needs assistance. Some seniors with dementia also respond well to a hand on the shoulder or other gentle touches. 

The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

4. Validate Your Loved One’s Feelings

Validation is a powerful tool for caregivers, and many tense situations can easily be defused with a few kind words. If your loved one is claiming someone has taken one of his or her belongings, offer to look for that item. Trying to reason or argue with a senior with dementia is only going to make the situation more difficult. Acknowledging the issue and offering solutions may put your loved one at ease and help him or her calm down.

5. Shift the Focus

For major outbursts, you need to have a solid plan in place for distracting your loved one. Taking your loved one for a walk or asking him or her to carry out a simple task such as folding laundry should redirect his or her attention and defuse the situation. Once your loved one is calm, try to figure out exactly what caused the outburst. You might also want to play some relaxing music or ask your loved one to sing along to his or her favorite song until he or she is in a better mood.

Caring for a loved one with dementia 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 Wellesley home care services 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. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home dementia care services, contact us at (781) 239-0060 today.

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