5 Strategies for Handling Aggression in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s

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Combative behavior is typical in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and family caregivers should prepare for physical and verbal outbursts. Developing strategies ahead of time could prevent situations from escalating. Below are some tips that can help your family handle aggression in a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s.


1. Check Comfort Levels

If your parent’s needs aren’t met, he or she may respond with negative actions and emotions. Pain and discomfort could lead to behavioral problems, and if your loved one’s pain isn’t managed, the combativeness could get worse. 

Throughout the day, check the temperature in the home and set it at a comfortable level. Watch how your loved one reacts when navigating the house to determine if he or she is experiencing joint and muscle pain. When your parent takes medications, monitor the effects of the prescriptions. Keeping your parent comfortable could reduce aggressive behaviors and enhance his or her wellbeing. 

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Fort Lauderdale Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.


2. Be Patient

Rushing your loved one might cause him or her to lash out aggressively. For instance, mealtimes may be challenging for seniors with Alzheimer’s, causing them to eat at a slower pace or even refuse to eat altogether. If you become upset and try to rush your loved one, he or she might mimic your behavior out of fear or confusion. Remain patient when helping your parent with daily tasks. Allowing a little more time to complete activities could prevent combativeness.


3. Validate Feelings

Focusing on your loved one’s inaccurate statements instead of offering reassurance could cause aggressive behavior. Validate your loved one’s feelings and assure him or her that everything is going to be okay. 

It’s common for older adults with Alzheimer’s to misinterpret situations or misplace things and blame others. Instead of pointing out how your parent is wrong, respond in a calm and comforting manner. Validating your loved one’s concerns could ease a tense situation. Once your loved one has calmed down, you can help him or her find the misplaced objects.

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Assisting Hands Home Care is a leading elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.


4. Simplify Activities

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, seniors may have difficulty engaging in hobbies they enjoyed in the past, such as reading, drawing, cooking, and exercising. The inability to complete familiar tasks can cause seniors to feel useless, which often turns into anger, embarrassment, and other negative emotions. However, if you simplify daily tasks, your loved one may be better able to complete purposeful activities, which could boost his or her confidence levels and provide something to look forward to each day. 


5. Play Music

Many seniors maintain their music memory even as Alzheimer’s progresses and can connect music to people, places, objects, or events from the past. Playing music when your loved one is upset is the perfect way to distract him or her and redirect his or her attention to happier times. When a favorite song is playing, your loved one may forget about what led to the aggressive outburst and focus on the music.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, medication reminders, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Fort Lauderdale families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today.