Tuesday Tips for Caregivers! Alzheimer’s and Aggression

Tuesday Tips for Caregivers! Alzheimer’s and Aggression

Alzheimer’s and Aggression

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may have noticed that he or she can sometimes active aggressively. Where does this aggression come from? And can you, as a family caregiver, help your loved one feel better?

Today, we will talk about how to handle aggression from your loved one with Alzheimer’s. It is important to know that this aggression is likely not intentional, and it is also likely a result of their neurological disorder. Because Alzheimer’s degrades parts of the brain, it can be hard for impacted individuals to regulate certain emotions. Usually, there are triggers in the surrounding environment that contribute to feelings of frustration, irritation, and aggression. So, being mindful of what these triggers might be can help avoid negative feelings in your loved one.

When considering someone with Alzheimer’s, it is important to remember that they have the same needs as everyone else, social, physical, emotional, etc.[1] Many times, irregularities in these needs contribute to negative feelings. Perhaps your loved one is experiencing pain somewhere. There reactions could be due to side-effects of medications. Sometimes, people with degenerative neurological disorders experience misperceptions due to poor lighting and large shadows.

Other problems can be attributed to loneliness, tensions with a particular professional caregiver, or even boredom. Your loved one may also be frustrated because they are less able to perform certain tasks that they used to do easily. A lot of times, it can be difficult for your loved one to express him or herself because their language ability may be diminished. This confluence of factors builds up to negative feelings inside of them, and the release valve, so to speak, is to take it out on those nearest to them.

As a family caregiver, it is good to know what some of the factors and triggers that contribute to aggression:

  • Tiredness: Has your loved one been sleeping? Many times, dementia can impact sleep quality and duration. If this is happening, helping them keep a consistent daily schedule that includes a consistent bedtime can help them sleep.
  • Bodily Pain: Ask your loved one if they are experiencing any physical discomfort. If your loved one has difficulty speaking or responding, check their medications for any side-effects. Once you locate the source of pain, talk to their doctor to see what you can do.
  • Their surroundings: Is the house poorly lit? Are their large shadows on the walls or floor from objects in the environment? Is the house messy or cluttered? Be sure to keep the rooms your loved one is in well-lit and clean to minimize the potential for misperceptions.
  • Too much going on: Do you have company over to your house often? Are you asking your loved one too many questions? Try to minimize confusion by keeping your loved one in a calm environment, and ask them simple “yes” or “no” questions that pose less of a challenge than more open-ended questions.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093

[1] Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20064/symptoms/92/aggression/2