Tips for Managing Aggression in Seniors with Dementia

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Taking care of a senior loved one with dementia can pose numerous challenges. Your loved one may have significant cognitive deficits and memory loss and exhibit other behaviors such as combativeness and aggression. If your loved one becomes aggressive, consider the following interventions.

Explain Procedures

Aggressive behavior in seniors with dementia may stem from new situations or fear. Always explain new procedures to your loved one so he or she won’t be afraid or unsure of what you’re doing. For example, if your loved one has a skin problem and you’re performing wound care, explain each step of the procedure. Also, if your loved one has recently been diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes, explain the injection procedure. When procedures are explained in detail, people with dementia are less likely to act out aggressively.

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. Huntington 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.

Offer Gentle Redirection

People with dementia often wander. Also, because long-term memory is often affected, they may have forgotten they no longer have jobs and try to leave home in an attempt to “go to work.” Trying to stop them may lead to aggression. If this happens, gently redirect your loved one to another part of the home or reorient him or her back to the correct time and place. Once your loved one has been reoriented, the aggressive behavior may stop.

Consider the Need for Medication

Sometimes, despite your interventions, your loved one may need medication to manage aggressive behavior. If the behavior cannot be managed, your loved one’s safety, as well as the safety of others, may be in jeopardy. Your loved one’s physician may prescribe a low-dose anxiety or antidepressant medication to address the behavior. However, side effects will need to be carefully monitored. Some people with dementia develop an increase in aggressive behavior while taking psychotropic medications. If this happens to your loved one, the doctor may lower the dosage or discontinue the medication.

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 in-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Maintain a Calm Environment

Your loved one may become anxious and aggressive when the environment is chaotic or loud. Maintaining a peaceful environment may calm him or her and reduce aggression. If visitors are in your loved one’s home, ask them to return at a later date or move to another room if he or she appears uneasy. Playing soft music and eliminating sources of stimulation such as a loud television or radio may make the environment more peaceful. A dog or cat may also enhance the mood of the environment. Exposure to pets may ease anxiety and depression and lower the heart rate, regulate breathing patterns, and eliminate aggressive behavior in people with dementia.

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 Huntington home care service 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. Call us today at (304) 521-2909 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.