Tips For Managing Alzheimers Aggression
Getting to the root cause of outbursts can help caregivers manage dementia-related behaviors more effectively and may lessen the frequency of agitation and aggression.
The advantage family members have when they become caregivers for their aging parents is knowing their likes and dislikes. Things that annoyed or frustrated them in the past will most likely continue to do so. These known triggers are then complicated by new challenges caused by the progression of the disease.
Learning to redirect their attention and having open and honest conversations with other family members and health care providers can be of great assistance. Support groups can offer an outlet for frustrations as well as new information on this condition and creative ideas on how to deal with common behaviors and situations.
Most importantly, patience is key for everyone involved. Providing care for someone with dementia is hard work. When frustration mounts, look to the advice of experienced caregivers to help you cope: Dementia Caregiving Tips from Teepa Snow.
Why Do Dementia Patients Get So Angry
and may get angry if you try to engage them in activities then, Aggression can be caused by many factors including physical discomfort, Delusion, or bored can all trigger anger or aggression, consider what might be contributing to the change in behavior.The mental issues associated with dementia are often either not physically evident, conversation, Distortions of reality, the mental symptoms get overlooked.
Rummaging And Hiding Things
Caring for a patient who rummages around or hides things in the home can be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
|Rummaging/hiding things behavior management|
|Lock certain rooms or cabinets to protect their contents, and lock up all valuables.|
|Have mail delivered out of reach of your loved oneperhaps to a post office box.|
|If items do disappear, learn the persons preferred hiding places.|
|Restrict access to trashcans, and check all wastebaskets before disposing of their contents in case objects have been hidden there.|
|Protecting your loved one from harm|
|Prevent access to unsafe substances, such as cleaning products, alcohol, firearms, power tools, sharp knives, and medications.|
|Block unused electrical outlets with childproofing devices. Hide stove knobs so the person cant turn on the burners.|
|Lower the temperature on water heaters.|
|Designate a special drawer of items that the person can safely play with when keen to rummage.|
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Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
Understanding Why Someone With Dementia Is Being Mean
Does dementia cause meanness or is something else going on? The short answer is that most of us dont really understand which cognitive skills dementia takes away. More importantly, we do not realize which skills are not lost. And so we inadvertently embarrass people and unintentionally belittle or frustrate them without realizing what weve done. We then find ourselves on the receiving end of a verbal or physical blow with no idea what went wrong, and their response seems unwarranted or crazy.
But think about how you feel when someone you loveor someone you expect kindness fromstarts doing things that make you feel bad. None of us behave well when we feel that were being taken advantage of, made fun of, or picked on. When that happens, we feel indignant and angry and usually tell the other person why. Anger, aggression, frustration, and just plain meanness result when we feel that were not being treated fairly or respectfullyespecially if it happens over and over again with people whom we are close to or expect better from.
This doesnt change when we begin to experience dementia. What changes is the skills we have available to work with. Dementia takes away skills weve been using our entire lives. And even if our companions love us dearly, their attempts to help us often make us feel worse.
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Our Most Frustrating Rational Thinking Losses
If Im experiencing dementia and you ask me to do something I cant do, Ill feel embarrassed, angry, hurt, or all three at once. Its essential that you understand what someone experiencing dementia is no longer able to comprehend for you to avoid getting combative, aggressive, and mean reactions.
Rational Thinking Loss #1Becoming unable to understand why.
Rational thinking skills are for understanding how, why, when, who and whatthe ability to perceive relationships between facts. Dementia takes that away. So if you try to explain to your loved one why they need to do something, or what went wrong, or how to do something, they will not be able to follow you and will end up embarrassed or concluding that youre making fun of them. Anger or hurt feelings will result. Whenever you catch yourself explaining why, stop. Youre asking them to do something they can no longer do. Youll have pleasanter interactions once you build new conversational habits and turn your focus away from why to talking about things that are pleasant.
Rational Thinking Loss #2Becoming unable to see cause and effect.
Rational Thinking Loss #3Becoming unable to follow sequences.
Rational Thinking Loss #4Becoming unable to prioritize.
More About Dementia And Being Mean
Understanding how dementia changes our thinking skills is the beginning of understanding why someone experiencing dementia might be mean, and how to avoid getting aggressive and combative dementia behaviors.
But this is not a simple problem, so theres more to think about. In my next article, Dementia Anger Stage, Ill explain how wethe companions of people experiencing dementiaare actually in control of their moods rather than them. This is one of the key reasons for why relationships that include dementia are different from anything weve ever experienced before.
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Common Behavioral Triggers In Dementia
- A change in routine
- A lack of personal space
- A confrontation with a loved one or stranger
- Feeling patronized
With these triggers, all of us may feel anxiety or frustration, but combined with the cognitive changes and loss of inhibition of dementia, the reaction may be magnified. It may help for you to consider the circumstances your loved one is facing which would leave you feeling apprehensive or frustrated.
Psychological triggers may also lead to foul language. Some of these potential triggers may include delusions and paranoia.
Things To Do After Dealing With Aggressive Behavior In Dementia
1. Learn from what happenedAfter giving yourself a chance to calm down and de-stress from the episode of aggressive dementia behavior, take a step back to see what you can learn from the situation.
Analyzing the situation also helps you take it a little less personally and makes it easier to think about what you could do differently next time to try to avoid an aggressive reaction.
Think about possible triggers, which responses helped calm things down, and which responses seemed to make the situation worse.
It often helps to take notes on your observations to see if you can spot patterns or figure out new ways to try to prevent a similar outburst in the future or cool things down if it does happen.
2. Find sources of supportIts essential for your well-being to talk with people who understand and can help you cope with these tough situations and deal with the conflicting emotions.
Getting your feelings out is an important outlet for stress. Plus, you might get additional tips and ideas for managing aggressive dementia behavior from others who have dealt with it.
3. Consider medicationWhen non-drug techniques arent working and challenging behaviors become too much to safely handle, it might be time to work with their doctor to carefully experiment with behavioral medications.
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How To Cope With Common Changes In Behaviour
Although changes in behaviour can be difficult to deal with, it can help to work out if there are any triggers.
- Do some behaviours happen at a certain time of day?
- Is the person finding the home too noisy or cluttered?
- Do these changes happen when a person is being asked to do something they may not want to do?
Keeping a diary for 1 to 2 weeks can help identify these triggers.
If the change in behaviour comes on suddenly, the cause may be a health problem. The person may be in pain or discomfort from constipation or an infection.
Ask a GP for an assessment to rule out or treat any underlying cause.
Keeping an active social life, regular exercise, and continuing activities the person enjoys, or finding new ones, can help to reduce behaviours that are out of character.
Read more about activities for dementia.
Other things that can help include:
- providing reassurance
- activities that give pleasure and confidence, like listening to music or dancing
- therapies, such as animal-assisted therapy, music therapy, and massage
Remember also that it’s not easy being the person supporting or caring for a person with behaviour changes. If you’re finding things difficult, ask for support from a GP.
Alzheimers Care Challenges: Handling Dementia & Anger
Handling anger is one of the biggest challenges when caring for a person whos suffering from Alzheimers or another form of dementia. While almost everybody shows some form of aggression every now and again, Alzheimers and dementia can make anger issues much worse or develop anger issues in people who previously had none. Studies show that anger issues generally worsen the more severe an Alzheimers or dementia sufferers condition becomes.
Managing anger in dementia sufferers can be difficult. It may often mean reacting against your first instincts, but proper anger and dementia strategies can make care much easier for loved ones and caregivers alike.
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There Are Many Possible Reasons For The Aggressive Behavior
Every communication from someone with Alzheimers gives us an opportunity to understand what is going on. Aggressive behaviors can tell us whether any of the following might be occurring with the individual:
- Pain, stress, or fatigue
- Confusion due to a sudden change in environment a change in routine or the change of a person
- Reaction to medications, or to the interaction of medications
- Noisy or confusing surroundings
- Feeling pushed to do something uncomfortable such as taking a bath
- Feeling uncertain when asked to do something that seems too hard
Responding To Anger And Aggression In People Who Suffer From Dementia
Now that we have identified the three sources of anger and aggression, we will discuss the best ways to respond to this behavior. These situations can be stressful, but there are a number of ways to respond to a variety of different causes.
Of course, one of the most important steps is to establish that both you and your loved one are safe. If the person is unable to calm down, the best course of action is to seek assistance from others. In emergency situations, it is always best to call 911. If you do, inform the responders the person has dementia, which is the cause of the aggression.
With that established, there are a number of effective methods to respond to anger and aggression to avoid escalation. Below, we highlight some of the best steps and outline what kind of situations you might use them in.
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Tips For Managing Dementia End
Because individuals with advanced dementia will often have difficulty communicating, it is important that caregivers keep a close eye on their loved one for signs of pain or discomfort. These signs may include moaning or yelling, restlessness or an inability to sleep, grimacing, or sweating. This may also signal that its time to call hospice or a palliative care team to help with the pain management.
If an individual with end-stage dementia is having trouble sitting up without assistance, hospice can provide a hospital bed or other equipment to lift their head.
Perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focusing on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.
If Youre Looking After Someone With Dementia
Your needs as a carer are as important as the person youre caring for.
To help care for yourself:
- join a local carers support group or a specialist dementia organisation â for more details, call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 lines are open 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm at weekends
- call Dementia UKs Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline free on 0800 888 6678 to talk to a registered specialist dementia nurse lines are open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm at weekends
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Elderly Anger Hostility And Outbursts
Age and illness can intensify longstanding personality traits in some unpleasant ways. For example, an irritable person may frequently become enraged, or an impatient person may become demanding and impossible to please. Unfortunately, their primary caregiver is often an angry elders main target.
How to Deal With Angry Elderly Parents
Try to identify the root cause of their anger. The aging process is not easy. It can spark resentment in seniors who are living with chronic pain, losing friends, experiencing memory issues, and all the other undignified things that come with getting older.
Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia can also cause these behaviors. With dementia, it is important to remember that the patient doesnt have full control over their words or actions. As a caregiver, the best thing you can do is not take it personally. Focus on the positive, ignore the negative and take a break from caregiving as often as you can by finding respite care. Get some fresh air, do something you love or call a friend to vent.
Elders often reserve their worst behavior for those they are closest to, like family members. In this case, it may be beneficial to hire in-home care or consider adult day care. Mean, angry behaviors might not surface in front of strangers, and youll get a much-needed break while others are handling your loved ones care needs.
Do Not Initiate Contact
This tip goes hand-in-hand with allowing the person space and remaining calm. For some, physical contact can be relaxing and reassuring. However, in periods where the person is angry, confused, and aggressive, contact can lead to physical aggression that will escalate the situation.
You should never react to violence with force as this can send the situation spiraling out of control, possibly leading to bodily harm for yourself or them. Unless your safety or the safety of somebody else is threatened, avoid physical force and contact at all costs.
At Iora, comprehensive care and treatment are priorities. When patients walk into our practice, our dedicated and passionate care teams work to treat the whole patient. Our care model seeks to empower our patients through extensive physical and behavioral care, putting the power of the patients health back in their hands.
Of course, we understand the hardships that come with caretaking can be quite stressful. However, we have several resources to help you be the best caregiver you can be.
Now that you understand more about the causes of dementia and anger, and how to talk to someone with dementia, check out the five main reasons for caregiver burnout.
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Tips For Coping With Agitation Or Aggression
Here are some ways you can cope with agitation or aggression:
- Reassure the person. Speak calmly. Listen to his or her concerns and frustrations. Try to show that you understand if the person is angry or fearful.
- Allow the person to keep as much control in his or her life as possible.
- Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
- Build quiet times into the day, along with activities.
- Keep well-loved objects and photographs around the house to help the person feel more secure.
- Try gentle touching, soothing music, reading, or walks.
- Reduce noise, clutter, or the number of people in the room.
- Try to distract the person with a favorite snack, object, or activity.
- Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar, and junk food the person drinks and eats.
Here are some things you can do:
- Slow down and try to relax if you think your own worries may be affecting the person with Alzheimers.
- Try to find a way to take a break from caregiving.
Look For The Underlying Factor
Once you have established your safety and that of the patient, you should then look at what could have triggered such violent behavior.
It is important that you try and understand what may have led the patient to suddenly become violent. Violent outbursts may be caused by:
- Physical discomfort
- Environmental factors like loud noise
When you are able to identify the triggers, try and reduce them. Understanding the stressors will also help you avoid any future incidences of violent outbursts.
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