Some people with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be combative. This aggressive behavior stems from changes and damage to the brain as the disease progresses. Aggressive dementia behaviors can also appear in people who have never been violent in their lives. Because you might not be prepared for it, your instincts might be to lash out and fight back, but that will only make things worse. Instead, use these tips to deal with aggressive dementia behavior.
Identify Their Triggers
Knowing what is causing this aggression in a loved one is the first step in formulating a plan for dealing with them. To identify the trigger, you need to think about what happened before this behavior started.
Common triggers include frustration, fear, and pain. A loved one might also have paranoia which frustrates them when you do not understand what they are paranoid about. Also, avoid startling a loved one with dementia because they may think you are attacking them, feel threatened and lash out.
Remove The Trigger
Once you know what the trigger is, try to remove it. If it is something like shadows causing them fear and paranoia, you can turn on the lights to eliminate them. Pain can be a trigger and because they may not be able to tell you this, you need to investigate it yourself.
Be Gentle and reassuring
When you are calm, a loved one with dementia is also a lot more likely to be calm. By remaining calm, you also avoid unintentionally escalating the issue and causing even more aggression.
Breathing slowly helps reduce your anger and frustration, helping you speak softly slowly, and calmly so they understand what you’re saying.
Once they calm down, you can use a calming and gentle touch on their arm or shoulder to further reassure them.
Ensure a Calm Environment
In addition to you remaining calm, you should also ensure the environment is, too. A noisy or busy environment can trigger aggressive behavior, and also make it harder for you to reach your loved one.
You can try eliminating noise, turning off the TV, and asking people to leave. Once you do all this, you can work on calming down your loved one.
Get Them Professional Help
It is OK to admit you may not be able to deal with this aggression because you are not prepared or cannot do so. In these cases, the best course of action is to get your loved one professional help.
Do consider assisted living with memory care services because the facilities that provide these services have professionals who are trained in dealing with residents who require care due to memory and cognitive issues, including dementia.
These facilities provide the right environment for your loved one to not only be calmer but also thrive and have a great quality of life. They also help eliminate the isolation and loneliness that often accompanies living with dementia.
Dealing with aggressive behavior from a loved one with dementia can be frustrating because you might not know what to do at that moment. By being prepared, you can ensure better outcomes. It is also OK to consider professional care if you find things too overwhelming for you.