All seniors have different experiences with Alzheimer’s disease, but everyone with this condition will eventually reach a stage where they have behavior-related problems. When this happens, it can become difficult to provide care for an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s if you’re not fully prepared. However, there are some facts about the combative stage of Alzheimer’s you should be aware of that could help you find effective ways to manage this phase of the disease.
1. Discomfort Is Sometimes the Cause of Aggression
During the later stages of Alzheimer’s—when combativeness tends to appear—your loved one could have difficulty verbalizing any discomfort he or she is experiencing. Should this be the case, your parent may act out to let you know something is wrong. If you suspect this is what’s happening, take a moment to assess your loved one’s comfort to see if adjustments can be made. If the combative behavior continues, seek medical assistance to see if a physical issue can be found.
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading senior home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
2. Behavior Can Happen Suddenly
It’s not unusual for seniors with Alzheimer’s to have sudden, unexpected bursts of aggression. In some people with Alzheimer’s, there are certain times of day when they tend to be more irritable or moody. However, this type of behavior can come on suddenly without any apparent reason. Be prepared to handle these outbursts by not taking them personally.
3. Issues with the Immediate Environment Are Often a Factor
Verbal and physical outbursts in seniors with Alzheimer’s are often related to environmental factors. For instance, the television might be too loud, or there may be too many people in the room your loved one is in. Ways to minimize this possible cause of agitation include:
- Limiting the number of guests in your loved one’s home at any given time
- Sticking to one topic during conversations
- Reducing background noise as much as possible
- Keeping your loved one’s immediate environment uncluttered
4. Effective Communication Is Essential
The inability to clearly communicate sometimes contributes to combativeness, which happens because the disease typically causes individuals to lose the ability to find the right words. Your loved one may also have difficulty staying focused or fully expressing him or herself, so he or she might become agitated out of frustration. The behavior could include kicking, biting, and other disruptive and potentially dangerous actions. One solution is to use nonverbal ways to communicate when necessary, but avoid the temptation to finish your loved one’s sentences or make assumptions.
5. Keeping Things Familiar Helps
Taking your loved one to a familiar room or area of the home during a combative episode could calm him or her down because familiar items and surroundings often have a calming effect on people with Alzheimer’s. You may also be able to redirect your loved one’s attention with:
- His or her favorite songs/music
- Foods he or she likes
- Activities he or she finds comforting and enjoyable
Aging in place allows seniors with Alzheimer’s to remain among familiar surroundings and belongings. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional at-home care Anchorage seniors can trust and rely on.
6. Patience Is Essential
Lastly, remain calm and patient when your loved one has combative outbursts. At times, this may mean simply walking away or taking a break for a few minutes to give yourself a chance to relax and remain focused. The more patient and in control you’re able to remain, the more likely it is you’ll be able to help your loved one handle behavioral challenges.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Anchorage Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Call us today at (907) 770-0907 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.