When it comes to caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, aggression is one behavior that the caregivers are expected to combat on a regular basis.
Aggression often remains an undiscussed yet very real side effect of Alzheimer’s disease; the one that mostly catches many people off guard. While there are plenty of ways to manage aggressive behaviors that typically come with Alzheimer’s and forms of dementia, neurologists suggest avoiding immense medications for the patients and instead, advise to take a more hands-on approach for managing an Alzheimer’s patient.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, remember that you are not alone. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is certainly one of the most stressful challenges a person can undergo in their life.
The following practical tips can prove helpful for your loved one as she or he becomes dependent on you and caregivers :
- Learn Common Triggers
When you study the patient’s behaviour and identify the triggers that cause them to get upset, you can learn how to prevent aggressive outbursts from happening. Accommodate and modify your way of doing things to work around the aggression instead of getting worried about their aggression.
- Label Objects In House
Many times the primary reason for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to get angry or frustrated is due to the inability to recollect something that they feel they should remember. Whether it is labelling things in the room, writing notes so they remember things like meals or sleep time or providing visitors with name tags, such doings help to regularize memory to their frequent surroundings.
- Stick To A Schedule
A routine based schedule is helpful as they comfort and give a sense of belonging. Any form of surprise and an unplanned event can confuse or scare an Alzheimer’s patient. It may act as a trigger for their anger.
- Try Soothing Strategies
There is an ongoing research on the benefits of soothing approaches on anger-filled outbursts in Alzheimer’s patients. Classical or soft music, a warm bath, a short walk, or even a brief hand massage can all go a long way in comforting Alzheimer’s-related mood changes and it can help keep anger and blood pressure in control.
- Take Good Care Of Your Own Well-being
Family members frequently end up neglecting their own health while focusing on the needs of the person with the disease. Eating and sleeping well are crucial, along with regular physical exercise.
- Take Help From Professionals
You will feel much less stressed if you get as much help as possible with the job – other family, friends, part time attendants, home nurses etc.
- Have Regular Periods Of Break
Respite means not only that you have time when you are not engaged in providing care, but also, the time when you are relieved of the psychological burden of worrying about the person with the disease.
- Learn about the Disease
Knowledge is critical in managing any chronic disease, but this is especially true in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Learning about the behavioural challenges that are common in Alzheimer’s disease, and how to manage them, may be more valuable than any medication currently available for this.
- Be Flexible
Gradually, an Alzheimer’s patient will become more dependent. But there is a lot you can do to maximize the quality of your interactions and reduce frustration. Try to adapt your routine and expectations as and when is needed.
For example, resistance to bathing, wanting to wear the same clothes every day and other such issues should be handled with care and patience. Come up with practical solutions and attention diverting techniques to handle them.
- Maintain A Safe Environment
Alzheimer’s disease impairs judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing a person’s risk of injury. To promote safety-
- Prevent falls by installing handrails or grab bars in critical areas.
- Use locks. Install locks on cabinets containing anything hazardous
- Check water temperature before giving a bath, to prevent burns.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach, and install a smoke alarm.
Remember, your loved ones’ responses and behaviours will be different from what they used to be. Patience and a flexible attitude along with the support of friends and family is the key to meet challenges and frustrations ahead.