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Luke, November 1 2018

Coping with Aggressive Behavior

Coping with Aggressive Behavior

When caregiving for someone with dementia, there is a possibility that their behavior could become aggressive. Most people think of someone with dementia as being slightly befuddled and a person who repeats themselves. The other side of the coin is a person who develops aggressive behavior.

Aggressive behavior

A senior who develops aggressive behavior is not being difficult deliberately. The most common trigger is trying to care for them. Your senior may not understand what you’re doing and why you’re trying to help them. They have memory loss and are confused and may start to display some behavior which is challenging. Or, an overreaction to a normal situation can cause a mood or behavior change and trigger combative behavior.

Try to understand what it's like to be a dementia patient. You're not hungry and are peacefully napping, and you're woken up and told you have to eat. You don't know who it is trying to get you out of your chair, but you're not going to budge. The person pushes the button on your lift chair to bring you to your feet and walks you to the kitchen. Then they put a plate of food in front of you and try to feed you. You get irritated and throw the plate of food on the floor. When you look at the situation from this perspective, you may understand why you have the reactions that you do.

How to reduce combative behavior

There are some ways to help minimize combative behavior in your loved one. Below are some suggestions which might be helpful:

1.     Don’t be in a hurry: Be sure to allow lots of time when you’re helping your loved one with personal needs and getting dressed for the day. If you are stressed and saying that you’re running late, then that will only get your senior stressed, anxious and frustrated. This ends up decreasing your senior’s ability to function.

2.     Do some talking: Talk to your loved one about something you know that they’re interested in. This gives a little relaxing time before you start caring for them. By chatting and staying relaxed and taking a few minutes, it can save you precious time instead of spending it trying to calm your loved one down.

3.     Visual cues: It helps to use visual clues when caregiving for someone with dementia. If you'd like them to get dressed, then show them with your body what you want. If you want them to brush their hair, brush yours.

4.     Timeout: If you become frustrated, make sure your loved one is in a safe place and take a break to regroup. Just that few minutes break can make a lot of difference.

When you're taking care of someone else and the become aggressive, it can be frustrating. By putting yourself in their shoes, it may help you to anticipate what reactions they're going to have. Then you can figure out a way to prevent it, and you'll both be happier.








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