Dementia Caregiver Tips
Dealing with Dementia-Related Aggression
You may notice periods of agitation or anger in a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia as they move through the middle to late stages of the disease you care for them.
When this sort of behaviour arises, it is critical to understand what is causing it as well as ways for defusing it. Continue reading to discover more about dementia-related aggressiveness and how to respond.
What Is Aggressive Behavior in Dementia Patients?
When attempting to identify behaviour in a loved one, consider conduct at opposite extremes of the spectrum.
Agitation is characterized by feeling restless, anxious, disturbed, or overwhelmed. Aggression is more severe conduct that might involve both verbal and physical behaviours.
Both of these sorts of actions are frequently observed for a cause.
What is Agitation Caused by Dementia?
Agitation and aggressiveness are not the same things, as previously stated. When compared to violence, agitation often entails more subdued sentiments and behaviours.
Agitation can seem like worrying behaviour, restlessness, pacing, and becoming agitated in particular situations. If not controlled, it might escalate into hostility.
Many of the tactics and reasons listed below are equally applicable to those suffering from dementia-related agitation.
What Motivates Aggression in Dementia Patients?
Aggression in adults with dementia often has an underlying reason. The individual may be unable to articulate their sentiments or frustrations, or they may be unable to pinpoint what is troubling them. What looks to be hostile conduct is frequently their effort to express an issue.
Aggression or agitation in people with dementia might be caused by:
● Physical disease, infection, or discomfort
● Too much external stimulation (bright lights, loud noises, too many people, etc.)
● Hunger, thirst, or fatigue
● Medication side effects
● People’s stress or anxiety (people can often pick up on these feelings)
Use these triggers to assist in determining the likely cause if your loved one demonstrates agitation or violent behaviour. If the conduct is repeated, consult a doctor to rule out any underlying reasons or discomfort.
A Word About Delusions Caused by Dementia
Delusions are intense beliefs in something that does not occur in people with dementia. (This differs from a hallucination, which is a mistaken sensory sense.) An example of a delusion is the conviction that a loved one has stolen something from the person suffering from dementia, or that they are being watched.
How Should Caregiver React to Aggressive Behavior?
When someone you care about acts aggressively toward you, it’s natural to feel hurt, irritated, or furious. However, keep in mind that it is not personal, and your loved one is not acting in this manner on purpose.
The way you react to the conduct might have a significant influence on how the individual responds. By being as cool as possible, you will demonstrate to the individual that you are not disturbed and will assist them in dealing with whatever the matter is.
The following are some suggestions for de-escalating hostile conduct.
● First and foremost, ensure safety. If the other individual is unable to cease the hostile conduct, seek assistance from someone else if feasible. Call emergency and explain that the individual has dementia, which is driving them to act this way.
● Allow them some breathing room. If you can, provided the individual is safe, take a minute to relax and allow them some alone time.
● Change your mind. The individual’s present behaviour may be aggravating or bothering them in some manner. Try diverting their attention to another task or activity.
● Remove any distractions. Aggression may be triggered by the person’s surroundings. People with this are often overstimulated, so keep an eye on the situation. Are there any flashing lights, loud noises, or strong odours? Try to eliminate or lessen them.
● Concentrate on your emotions. Maintain your cool and ask the person a basic inquiry, such as “Are you OK?” Even if what they say defies logic, try your best to accept it and respond properly. The Alzheimer’s Association advises against asking lengthy or complex inquiries.
You may find that specific activities or times of day appear to create the most difficulty for your loved one over time. Keeping a notebook or record of your observations will help you plan ahead of time and avoid future problems.
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