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How to Deal with Aggressive Dementia Patients, Including Mom or Dad

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Alzheimer's patient screams at his wife fir no reason

Helpful Tips and Support from the Team at Home Instead, Waterloo

Caring for dementia patients is never easy. You may spend days answering the same question repeatedly, or you may struggle with sadness as you watch the disease take its toll on your loving mom or dad. Yet, there are moments of clarity when your dad is his same jovial self, making and laughing at his corny jokes. Those are the times you can cherish. What about those moments when Dad screams at you for no reason, however? How do you handle the frustration and aggression of your father when he reacts to a simple question?

Dealing with aggressive behaviour in a dementia patient is not easy, but it is possible when you know the right way. Learning the tips and tricks necessary to keep you and them safe, and your relationship intact is paramount to handling your day-to-day tasks. At Home Instead Senior Care in Waterloo, our skilled, trained team can provide the support you need during this trying time. Not only do we offer dementia and Alzheimer’s care, but we also assist with respite care for those times when you need to step away.

3 Tips for Caregivers of Dementia Patients When they Become Aggressive

An important point to remember when your loved one becomes aggressive is that it is not against you personally. Understanding this gives you the power you need to continue serving your senior during this challenging season of life. Additionally, use these suggestions to handle future outbreaks of aggression better:

  • Assess possible reasons for the aggression: There may be an underlying, unseen reason that Mom screamed at you when she is ordinarily placid. Some factors that may be attributed to this behaviour include:
    • Too much noise or too many people in a room. This can cause overstimulation, and unnerve your mother, causing confusion.
    • Frustration at not being able to communicate their thoughts or feelings to you.
    • Physical pain or discomfort, such as an infection, constipation, thirst, or sitting too long in one place.
    • Side effects of Dad’s medications may lead to confusion or drowsiness and limit their ability to communicate with you.
  • Redirect the behaviour: Instead of confronting Dad’s aggression, redirect his attention. More specifically, if he is arguing with you, it is okay to find something with which you can agree, and then get him to focus his attention elsewhere. For example, take him on a walk in the backyard or ask for help with a simple project. The goal is to switch his laser-focused attention from stimuli that increase his agitation to one that helps him relax.
  • Anticipate factors that bring on aggressive actions: Sometimes the best defense is a solid offense. As your parent lashes out, keep track of anything that sets them off and work toward reducing those stimuli. For instance, if Mom was always a creature of habit and suddenly she no longer has her regular routines in force, she may feel nervous or scared. Establishing or re-establishing her daily routines reinforces her sense of security and may lessen her outbursts.

Senior Care from Home Instead Can Help Ease Times of Aggressive Behaviour

Ease tensions with your aging loved one when you anticipate the triggers that bring out Mr. Hyde in them. A qualified senior caregiver from Home Instead Senior Care in Waterloo can work with you to establish routines and give you a much-deserved respite. Our staff is happy to help you and your loved one with dementia care, Alzheimer's care, or any of our additional personalized senior care services. We love serving families in and around the Waterloo area with several resources to help you through this season of life.

Call us at (519) 571-1665 to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality home care services for seniors we deliver each day to families in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Breslau, Conestogo, Elmira, St Jacobs, and surrounding areas.


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