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How Can I Manage Combative Behavior Resulting from Dementia?

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Managing aggressive behavior can be difficult for family caregivers, and as dementia progresses, the physical and verbal outbursts can become worse. However, developing effective strategies can ease the situation and reduce behavioral challenges in older adults living with dementia. Here are some of the ways your family can manage a combative senior loved one with dementia.

Don’t Correct Your Loved One

Listening to your parent allows you to determine what the problem is, which could be discomfort or an adverse reaction to medication. If your loved one is acting out due to an inaccurate perception of reality, remain calm and avoid lecturing him or her. For example, if your loved one accuses you of taking something out of his or her room, tell him or her you don’t have the item but you can search for it together. Dementia causes confusion and forgetfulness, and your loved one could have misplaced the object. If you focus on correcting your loved one instead of offering assistance and reassurance, the situation could escalate.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Winnipeg 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.

Suggest a New Activity

Promoting fun activities is an excellent way to ease a tense situation, and it can get your loved one to focus on something else instead of dwelling on the issue that caused the combativeness. The new activity could increase your loved one’s dopamine levels and enhance his or her mood. Some activities you can encourage your loved one to do during a combative situation include dancing, playing card games, coloring, and watching movies. This strategy is known as distracting and redirecting. You should be subtle when suggesting a fun activity so your loved one doesn’t feel like he or she is being coddled.

Use Visual Clues and Body Language

Making a statement with body language can be more effective than spoken language in many cases of combativeness caused by dementia. For instance, hallucinations are common for seniors with dementia, especially as the condition progresses. Your loved one may think he or she sees a person in the room when it’s actually a coat rack or glare from the television. The hallucination could cause a violent reaction, such as kicking, biting, or screaming. Move away from your loved one, walk toward the object he or she has misidentified, and use visual cues and body language to show him or her that no one is there. The objective is to calm your loved one without speaking, which can prevent confusion.

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 homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Walk Away

Sometimes leaving the room is the best way to handle a combative episode. While you’re in another area, your parent can calm down and you can regroup. Staying in the room while your loved one is yelling hurtful words could be difficult to experience, but a negative reaction from you could make the situation escalate. Go into another room and relax for a few minutes. Once you return to the room your loved one is in, you two can discuss the issue, find the underlying cause, and create a positive solution. Walking away prevents you from saying or doing something you might regret, and it gives your loved one time to calm down.

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 Winnipeg 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. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (204) 489 6000.