As if caring for your elderly loved one weren’t difficult enough, you may also be finding that this person whom you love and care for now has a personality that you’ve never known. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients may display anger, hostility, restlessness, stubbornness, and many other qualities that perhaps they even scolded you for displaying when you were a child. Such personality changes can be very distressing to your emotional and even physical health. So, let’s look at a few ways to cope with this.
Understanding the mechanics of dementia can help to alleviate some of the stress. Just knowing that such attitudes are not your loved one’s fault can help put things in perspective. Put simply, these aggressive tendencies are a direct result of brain damage. If the brain has been damaged in the area that processes emotions, then significant personality changes often result. Your loved one may react to situations in socially unacceptable ways, or may not react at all. Both are a result of damage to the brain.
Environmental factors can exacerbate the situation. Being in an unfamiliar place can create panic and a sense of loss of control.
Imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing where you are or even who you are. This disorientation can cause a lot of anxiety and frustration, which can further feed negative emotions. Such is the life of many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Unfortunately, these emotions are often directed toward the caregiver. You may be accused of stealing, you may watch your loved one lash out in anger over very small things such as taking medication, or you may even witness a violent outburst.
Sadly, there is no magic cure, but there are tools to help you cope and even properly manage the situation when it arises.
While you cannot cure the damage that causes emotional instabilities in your loved one, there are techniques available for handling these episodes.
Four R’s to prevent an outburst:
If you are dealing with a loved one whose personality has become aggressive, be assured that you are not alone. Take time for yourself as much as possible and surround yourself with those who will reassure you of your value and give you a boost to deal with the pressure
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