Alzheimer’s can lead to unusual or uncharacteristic behaviors in seniors. Even if your senior loved one has always been kind, docile, and agreeable, Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia may cause behaviors such as aggression and combativeness. Here are six ways to manage aggression related to Alzheimer’s so both you and your loved one can stay safe and content.
1. Promote Exercise
Your loved one may not be getting enough exercise and have too much pent-up energy, which can lead to anxiety and aggression. However, incorporating daily exercise into your loved one’s routine may promote relaxation. Exercise helps the brain release “feel-good” hormones known as endorphins, which enhance mood so seniors with cognitive deficits feel more at ease and comfortable.
2. Provide Alternative Choices
People with Alzheimer’s may get aggressive when they’re not given choices. Allow your loved one to make his or her own decisions, within reason, about food and clothing choices and choose the time he or she wants to go to bed or take a bath. Offering choices gives your loved one more control, and the more control people with Alzheimer’s have, the less likely they are to display aggressive behaviors.
Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with Alzheimer’s. 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. Rowlett Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
3. Consider Medication Side Effects
Many people who have Alzheimer’s take psychotropic medications. While effective in managing depression and anxiety, certain psychotropic medications can cause combative and aggressive behavior. If you believe your loved one’s aggression is the result of medication side effects, talk to his or her doctor about lowering the dosage or discontinuing the medication to see if the behaviors stop.
4. Monitor for Physical Discomfort
If your loved one is in pain, hungry, thirsty, or tired, he or she may be more prone to act out with aggressive behavior. Other causes that raise the risk for aggression in seniors with Alzheimer’s are urinary tract infections, fevers, and gastrointestinal problems. People with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia may be unable to effectively express their needs or complaints and simply become aggressive or combative, perhaps as an attention-seeking mechanism. If you’re unable to determine why your loved one is aggressive, make an appointment with his or her physician for an examination to rule out physical causes for behavioral changes.
The cognitive challenges that accompany Alzheimer’s often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. 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. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecare services provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
5. Provide Nutritious Foods
It’s not uncommon for seniors with Alzheimer’s to develop nutritional deficiencies. Cognitive deficits, preexisting medical conditions, medication side effects, lack of exercise, and the natural aging process may suppress the appetite, and your loved one may not get the nutrients he or she needs to stay physically and psychologically healthy. Deficiencies in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, or vitamin D may lead to unusual behaviors. If your loved one has a poor appetite, ask the doctor about taking an over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplement.
6. Offer Anti-Anxiety Medication
If the above interventions fail to curtail your loved one’s aggression, talk to his or her physician about prescribing a low-dose anti-anxiety medication. Aggression isn’t healthy for seniors with Alzheimer’s and may raise the risk for injuries, both to seniors and those around them. While anti-anxiety medications are typically only prescribed for short-term use, the physician may determine that, with frequent monitoring, your loved one could benefit from longer-term use.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s 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 Rowlett senior 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. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (972) 722-7833 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.