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5 Tips for Handling a Combative Loved One Who Has Dementia

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Memory loss is the most common dementia symptom. However, behavioral challenges are just as typical. The angry outbursts and physical dangers associated with combative behavior can be stressful on family caregivers and difficult for them to handle. Learn how you should approach these situations to calm your senior loved one and enhance the atmosphere within the home.

1. Schedule Activities Accordingly

Combative behavior typically takes place at specific times when seniors aren’t at their best. Avoid scheduling activities during these times to prevent the confusion and agitation that leads to aggressive behavior. Make sure to have calming procedures in place. For instance, if your loved one becomes irate when bathing, find objects to calm him or her down or consider playing soothing music during the routine to relax his or her mind and alleviate negative emotions.

2. Validate Your Loved One’s Feelings

Seniors with dementia have likely lost the ability to reason, but dismissing their feelings can make the situation worse. During a combative outburst, offer your loved one emotional support and understanding. Avoid telling your loved one how wrong he or she is, and refrain from explaining his or her thoughts. Instead, let your loved one know you understand his or her anger or sadness, and offer words of encouragement. Ignoring your loved one’s feelings could come across like you’re not listening and cause him or her to become more irate.

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. Henderson 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.

3. Distract with a New Activity

When your parent gets upset, engage him or her with singing, dancing, or doing some form of arts and crafts. The activity will immediately distract your loved one and provide something stimulating to do. In many cases, a senior with dementia will become so consumed with the new task that he or she will forget what led to the combative behavior. It’s best to choose an everyday activity that will grab your parent’s attention instantly.

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

4. Check Your Loved One’s Comfort Levels

Pain and discomfort often cause combative behavior in aging adults with dementia. The inability to communicate as well as they did in the past could prevent them from telling anyone about the pain, so they act out aggressively. Check your loved one’s comfort levels to ease his or her mind. Finding out where your loved one hurts could resolve the behavior. If the pain causes your loved one to assault you and others physically, inform his or her doctor as soon as possible. Physical danger is never okay, and your loved one’s primary care physician may need to adjust treatment or conduct further examinations.

5. Leave the Room

In some instances, seniors with dementia don’t calm down, and the behavior gets worse. When this happens, step into another room instead of becoming upset and responding in kind. Leaving the room gives your loved one time to calm down and reduces your risk of saying things you might regret. Before you leave the room, make sure no sharp or dangerous objects are lying around to prevent your loved one from harming him or herself while you’re in another area of the home.

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 Henderson 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 at (702) 527-7723 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality dementia home care services.