Depending on which stage of Alzheimer’s your senior loved one is going through, he or she may display aggressive behavior. Sometimes only gentle redirection is needed to quell aggression. However, at other times, you may need to consider alternative methods. Here are some ways to handle an aggressive senior with Alzheimer’s.
1. Decrease Background Commotion
Even ambient background noise can spark aggressive behavior in certain seniors with Alzheimer’s. Lower the volume on televisions and radios, and if people are cooking in the kitchen, ask them to avoid banging pots and pans. Also, if people are visiting your loved one, ask them to lower their voices or even return at a later date when he or she is in a better mood.
2. Sequester Pets
If your loved one has pets, he or she may become anxious or aggressive when the animals are walking around or obstructing pathways. Make sure to put the animals in a different room during an aggressive episode so they don’t add to your loved one’s anxiety and to protect them from being accidentally harmed.
3. Check for Discomfort
People with Alzheimer’s sometimes act out because they’re uncomfortable, sick, thirsty, or hungry. Make sure your loved one is clean and dry. If he or she has had an incontinence episode, clean him or her up immediately. Aggressive behavior may also be the result of a urinary tract infection. If your loved one produces concentrated or cloudy urine, has a fever or chills, or seems unwell, call the doctor, who may recommend making an appointment and bringing in a urine sample. If your loved one has a urinary tract infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. After the infection has cleared, normal behaviors may resume.
The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Little Rock Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
4. Consider Dietary Interventions
If your loved one isn’t eating properly, abnormal behaviors, including aggression, may occur. Diets high in sugar or starches can cause anxiety and aggression, especially in seniors with Alzheimer’s who also have diabetes. Nutritional deficiencies, such as those caused by a lack of vitamin C, vitamin D, or some of the B vitamins, may also increase the risk for aggressive behavior in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Monitor Medications
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause side effects that include unusual behavior. Diabetes medication may cause blood glucose levels to spike up or down, which can cause confusion, anxiety, psychotic behavior, and aggression. Psychotropic medications and oral corticosteroids can also contribute to aggression in seniors with Alzheimer’s. If you believe your loved one’s medications are causing him or her to act out, call the doctor.
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 elder care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
6. Visit the Physician
Your loved one’s aggressive behavior may mean the disease is progressing to an advanced stage. The physician can prescribe neurological medications that can slow the progression of the disease while curtailing undesirable behavior. The doctor can also perform a comprehensive medical examination to rule out other conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and new brain disorders.
7. Increase Exercise
Exercise can ease anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Walking outdoors in the sunshine provides many health benefits to those with Alzheimer’s. Walking is an aerobic exercise that enhances brain and cardiovascular health, while sunlight exposure helps the body manufacture vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D may cause negative behaviors in seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s 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 Hot Springs at-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 one of our friendly Care Managers today at (501) 764-1312 to learn more about our customized care plans.