Family members are often confused and heartbroken when they see a
loved one with Alzheimer’s spiral into what seems like a constant state
of hostility and anger. Even if they know that these behaviors are a
common effect of Alzheimer’s, they may seem shockingly out of character
for the person in question.
There are a number of reasons why a person with Alzheimer’s may be exhibiting anger. Among them:
If a senior is unable to communicate that he or she is in pain, or has
lost the ability to identify the source of the pain, their physical
discomfort can quickly manifest as anger. Things like urinary tract
infections or muscle and bone issues might not be immediately apparent
to a caregiver but they could be a constant source of irritation for the
person experiencing them.
• Fatigue: Sleep
disturbance (link to that blog) is a real issue for those with
Alzheimer’s and the lack of rest can eventually catch up with them and
impact their mood.
• Environmental Factors: Sometimes too much noise or over-stimulation can cause confusion and be triggers for Alzheimer’s-related anger.
• Time of Day:
Instead of good days and bad days, people with Alzheimer’s tend to have
good moments and bad moments. For example, many people find it’s better
to get bathing and other tasks accomplished early in the day as
conditions can deteriorate as evening approaches.
At Home Instead
Senior Care serving Central Oregon, we train our CAREGivers to take
these factors and anything else into consideration when caring for a
person with Alzheimer’s who is exhibiting angry or aggressive behavior.
By understanding that there is always a reason for the behavior – even
if that reason is just Alzheimer’s itself – they are better able to care
for their clients. Some things they keep in mind:
• Try to identify and empathize with the feelings behind the words or actions.
• Keep a journal to help identify triggers and track effective solutions
your clock according to the person you’re caring for: if bath time is a
catastrophe before bed, but goes off without a hitch at 12 p.m., then
high noon it is.
• Approach each situation with a plan of
distraction. Always keep a few ideas in your back pocket in case you
need to make a hasty retreat from a situation that causes the person you
are caring for to become aggressive. For example, studies have shown
that beloved or familiar music tends to calm people with Alzheimer’s so
it’s a good idea to get to know some of their favorite tunes.
For more information, please contact Home Instead Senior Care serving Central Oregon at 541-330-6400 or Like us on Facebook.
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