Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Combative Behavior and Alzheimer’s Disease
Combative behavior is when a patient or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease exhibits a ready disposition to fight or is showing behaviors to dispute, argue, or disagree to anything you may say. Many family members and paid caregivers have challenges when dealing with these behaviors. If a patient is being combative they may kick, bite, shove, hit, spit, and/or yell. If a family member is on the other end of the dispute, it may be hard for them to get past the fact that their loved one is doing this to them. Most of the time, these behaviors stem from confusion, and not understanding why you are helping them or why you are dictating their every move.
Here are a few suggestions to overcome these triggers:
- Talk before trying to complete a task such as dressing or bathing. Have a friendly conversation about something your loved one is interested in. After or during your nice talk, you can slowly help them into the shower or getting them dressed.
- Don’t rush your loved one. Rushing creates anxiety and then will make your patient feel as though you are dictating them and not allowing them to get ready at their own pace. Try speaking slow and calm and take your time.
- Take a break. If something is not going as planned, take a break (after ensuring your loved one is in a safe position or place) and take 15 minutes to yourself to gather your thoughts.
- Think about the task at hand. If the patient is combative, does it really matter that they don’t want to change into day clothes? Can’t they stay in their pajamas today? Less is more. Really try to gauge if the task, at that exact moment, is completely necessary.
- Never argue back. It is very important that you do not argue with an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. It is better to reassure them that everything is okay, listen to their complaint and validate their feelings and then use distraction.
- Always remain calm. If your loved one feels your anger, hears your voice level raise, and can see the change in your body language, it is more likely for them to become upset. Often, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients mimic what their family members emotions are so do your best to remain calm.
To speak with us here at ElderCare at Home
Feel free to call us at (888) 285-0093. Thanks for joining us for our Tuesday Tips for Caregivers and we’ll see you again next week!