Seniors living with dementia often exhibit mood or personality changes. As the disorder progresses, the area of the brain that governs mood commonly succumbs to damage. However, anger and aggression might also occur for other underlying reasons, but an older loved one with dementia may no longer be able to effectively communicate the problem. Out of frustration, he or she may act out negatively. There are a number of techniques caregivers might want to consider using to calm these situations when they occur.
Determine the Trigger
When your loved one becomes angry or moody, search for a cause other than the disease process itself. Your loved one might have a headache, need to use the bathroom, or have some other type of need. Ask simple questions to determine the possible reason for the behavior. Although they may no longer be able to find the words to express their concerns, seniors with dementia commonly understand questions posed to them. Validate your loved one’s feelings by listening to what he or she has to say. Pay attention to his or her body language for clues.
Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Waterloo 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.
During the moments when your loved one begins acting out, remain calm. Retaliating with anger and frustration may only make him or her more agitated. Speak in a calm, soft voice and face your loved one when talking. Although physical touch is often calming, resist the urge to touch your loved one until he or she becomes calmer. If the underlying cause for the behavior cannot be established, simply allow some space. When feeling frustrated secondary to the frequency of unwanted behaviors, remember your loved one cannot help what the disease process is doing to his or her cognitive abilities.
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 home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Use Distraction Techniques
If the behavioral pattern occurs in the afternoon, your loved one may be exhibiting signs of sundowner’s syndrome and may need a distraction from his or her current state of mind to calm down. Try playing your loved one’s favorite music, or maybe ask for help with some simple chore. Through trial and error, you can find the distractions that work most effectively. Encouraging seniors with dementia to express themselves through art is also often calming. Provide paper and crayons or water-based markers and invite your loved one to join in a craft session. Be gentle, compassionate, and understanding. Some seniors with dementia feel comforted when they’re allowed to cuddle with a stuffed animal or have the opportunity to be around a living pet.
Sometimes, seniors with dementia act out from boredom. They might have pent-up emotions and feel frustrated. Develop some type of physical activity to allow your loved one to vent his or her frustrations. Maybe do simple exercises first thing in the morning for a few minutes. Go for daily walks. Being outdoors in nature has been known to increase hormone levels that enhance mood. If your loved one once enjoyed gardening, venture outdoors and start a flower or vegetable garden. Maybe invest in an indoor stationary bike or a treadmill. Exercise also strengthens cardiovascular health and increases blood flow to the brain, where it’s needed for cognitive ability.
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 Waterloo home care services 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. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (519) 954-2111.