As aggression and agitation in seniors with dementia are not uncommon, you, as a caregiver, should understand how to handle it. When caring for a loved one with dementia, some of the greatest challenges are the behavior and personality changes that frequently occur. Challenges such as these are best met by using compassion, patience, flexibility, and creativity. Do all you can to maintain your sense of humor and not take aggression and outbursts personally.
But why do people with dementia frequently act out? It may be, in part, because individuals with dementia have a need/desire to be able to exert some type of control over their surroundings and/or their life. Acting out may be the only way they feel they can accomplish this. When a person with dementia is frustrated, confused, afraid, and or having trouble communicating effectively, agitation often is (in their mind) their first line of defense.
To assist those caring for an elderly individual with dementia – who exhibits agitation and/or aggression – here are some tips.
What Are Dementia-Related Aggression and Agitation?
In a person with dementia, agitation can be a set of behaviors that arise when the person is experiencing motor or verbal anxiety.
A further agitation level, aggression is behavior that may be expressed through property damage, threats, verbal abuse, or physical violence. This can be an overreaction to a minor criticism or setback and/or directed toward another person.
Try Handling Aggression and Agitation With These Tips
Here are a few suggestions to help you better manage dementia-related aggression and agitation when your loved one acts out:
- Have your loved one’s medications and medical conditions reviewed by their doctor.
- Where caregivers, environment, and daily routines are concerned, try to maintain consistency.
- Try to see to it that the needs of your loved one are met.
- Slowly approach the person and acknowledge that they are upset. Reassure them.
- Try not to get into an argument. Stay calm. The situation will only worsen by your heated response.
- Do the best you can to maintain a safe environment.
- If you see an outburst developing, do what you can to distract the person. Learn how to recognize early signs of a possible upcoming episode.
Physical abuse: If the person in question becomes abusive physically, do not try to restrict or restrain their anger outburst unless harm is being caused. If necessary, call for help. Between the person and yourself, create some space.
Aggressive/agitated behavior: If aggressive and/or agitated behavior occurs while the person is being cared for (by you), take a moment to use simple, short sentences to explain your actions. Analyze whether or not, at this precise moment, you really need to be doing whatever it is you’re doing with the person. If necessary, try again later and give them some space and time to get over their emotions.
Find Premier Care for Those with Dementia at Hidden Meadows On The Ridge
For the residents of Hidden Meadows On The Ridge who are living with dementia, we offer an exclusive, specially designed program. Based on scientific principles to support engagement, quality of life, and comprehension for those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory-related conditions, our highly customized approach goes by the name SHINE® Memory Care.
Since seeing is believing, please feel free to view, for yourself, all we have to offer. Schedule a tour here.