5 Simple Ways to Manage Aggression in Older Adults with Dementia

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5 Tips for Managing Aggression in Seniors with Dementia in Waterloo, ON

As dementia affects the brain, seniors undergo drastic personality changes and exhibit diminished self-control. Even formerly pleasant and peaceful seniors can develop an aggressive personality. It may be difficult to help an aggressive loved one, but it is not impossible. The following tips can make it a little easier for you to manage your loved one’s aggression.

1. Identify and Avoid Triggers

In many cases, the aggressive behavior has some sort of underlying trigger. Something upsetting can act as a trigger, such as having to leave the house or take medication. The trigger can also be something that makes the senior uneasy, like being hungry, wearing uncomfortable clothing, or feeling chilly. Many seniors lash out when they feel confused, so try to clearly label items and keep your loved one’s routine stable. Refer to past aggressive incidents and see if you can identify avoidable triggers.

Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to help your senior loved one stave off agitation and other negative emotions. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional dementia care, Waterloo Home Care Assistance should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults manage their health and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years.

2. Validate Feelings of Anger Instead of Ignoring Them

Seniors with dementia are often agitated when they feel ignored or unheard. Try to be there when your loved one feels upset, sad, angry, or irritated, and empathize with him or her. Empathizing may be more effective than telling your loved one he or she has no reason to be angry. Logical communication may help your loved one feel like his or her emotions are being understood and respected.

3. Add Exercise to the Daily Routine

Some seniors get aggressive because they are lacking a physical outlet for all their pent-up energy. Many older adults with dementia still have active bodies even if they are having difficulty with their cognitive functions. Long walks, gentle weight lifting, or other exercises can reduce agitation and promote calmness. 

Caring for seniors with serious health issues often puts family caregivers at risk of burnout. Waterloo respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Distract with Positive Things

Seniors with dementia can be easily distracted, and you can use positive distractions to make your loved one forget about anger. Options include turning on a favorite television show or asking if your loved one would like a snack. Your loved one may switch off the aggression if you suddenly ask an unrelated question or start telling a story. If your loved one has a favorite song, consider singing or playing it. Music can be one of the quickest ways to create a calmer mood and distract seniors from their anger.

5. Remain Calm and Reassuring

Even after they are no longer able to communicate, people with dementia still respond positively to a gentle tone of voice, a warm smile, and a reassuring touch. When you use these gestures, it can help seniors feel reassured. Staying positive is better than getting mad and yelling.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Waterloo Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (519) 954-2111 today.