Managing Combative Behavior in a Loved One Living with Dementia

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Even if your aging loved one used to be a kind and gentle person, dementia can cause significant changes in personality. Over time, you might begin to notice your loved one becomes combative or angry at the drop of a hat, and managing those symptoms could be difficult if you don’t plan ahead. Luckily, researchers and neurologists have come up with some highly effective tools for managing dementia-related combativeness. 

Carefully Track Your Loved One’s Behavior

As soon as your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you should immediately start tracking the symptoms. In many cases, the symptoms of dementia are closely tied to certain environmental triggers, and you might begin to notice a few patterns after a while. Once you’ve identified those triggers, you can take steps to avoid them. Your loved one might become agitated or angry when surrounded by strangers or the ambient noise is too loud. Many seniors with dementia also become upset by erratic movements, such as shadows on the wall or lights bouncing off mirrors. 

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Victoria 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.

Monitor Your Loved One’s Physical Health

When seniors with dementia are in pain, it can sometimes be difficult for them to get help. If you aren’t constantly checking your loved one for injuries and health issues, he or she might be in pain for weeks. After living with that pain for quite some time, your loved one could become hostile or violent. At least once every few days, check your loved one for any signs of an injury. You should also schedule regular checkups with the doctor so medical issues can be caught early on.

Learn How to Use Distraction

Even if you avoid triggers and keep your loved one relatively healthy, he or she could still go through hostile episodes. As soon as you notice a shift in your loved one’s demeanor, immediately try to distract him or her. Dementia makes it difficult to focus on multiple things at once, and your loved one might forget why he or she was angry if you’re able to divert his or her attention. Even a simple distraction such as putting on a favorite song could be very helpful. You can also ask your loved one to complete a simple task, such as putting away the dishes or folding some towels. 

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

Be an Empathetic Listener

Many seniors with dementia become frustrated and angry when they feel as if they’re being ignored, which could eventually lead to confrontations. If your loved one seems to be getting perturbed, try to be a good listener. Hearing your loved one out and offering a few gentle words could immediately shift his or her focus and boost his or her mood. You can also put a hand on your loved one’s shoulder or place your arm around him or her if he or she responds positively to that type of contact. In some cases, simply acknowledging your loved one’s frustrations could completely change the situation.

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 Victoria at-home care 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. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (250) 592-4881.