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Tips for Handling Combativeness in a Senior Loved One with Dementia

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Aggression is a challenging behavior you may encounter when your senior loved one has dementia. Once your loved one is combative, he or she may attempt physical acts of aggression, such as pushing you away or even throwing objects in your direction. While you may know your loved one isn’t fully aware of these actions, it’s still frustrating and dangerous to face on a regular basis. Knowing how to prevent and manage combative moments can help you feel safer as a caregiver.

Avoid Rushing the Routine

Combative behavior tends to happen more often when seniors with dementia are stressed, and nothing is more stressful than being rushed to get ready. Try to start helping your loved one with tasks such as getting dressed long before he or she really needs to be ready, which helps you avoid having to repeatedly tell him or her what to do. With more time, you can try strategies such as redirecting your loved one’s attention to help him or her adjust to the idea of the task you’re trying to accomplish.

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.

Establish Rapport

A person with dementia’s mood may be influenced by many factors, such as what’s on television or his or her current understanding of reality. For instance, your loved one may recognize you as his or her child and get angry that you’re trying to tell him or her what to do. You can counteract a negative mood or misunderstanding by taking a few minutes to just talk to your loved one before giving an instruction. Hold your loved one’s hand, make eye contact, and use other types of nonverbal language to establish a sense of trust.

Walk Away

When you’re alone with your loved one, you may have no choice but to walk away from the situation. However, first you always need to make sure he or she is safe. For instance, you may go to the bathroom to take a few deep breaths while your loved one is still sitting in his or her favorite chair and engaged in an activity. Just leaving for a few minutes may help you calm down, and your loved one may even forget about the incident and be ready to work with you when you come back.

Try Switching Caregivers

Once a senior becomes combative, it’s important to have multiple people you can turn to for help with his or her care. Switching caregivers can offer the possibility of shifting your loved one’s mindset. For example, if your loved is angry about you trying to tell him or her what to do, he or she may see an in-home caregiver as an authority figure and respond more calmly.

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. Sacramento 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.

Practice Self-Care

Your role isn’t easy. In addition to all your responsibilities, you also have to face not knowing when your loved one may suddenly lash out. Be kind to yourself during this time. Respite care is an option that gives your loved one a different caregiver for a few hours while you take a break, allowing you to vent to your best friend over coffee, visit a professional counselor, or just enjoy a long, hot bath so you come back to your duties ready to handle anything that comes your way.

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 Sacramento elderly 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. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call us today at 916.706.0169 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.