Of the various daunting behaviors that may occur in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps the most daunting is physical violence. Even a previously quiet, timid senior can be susceptible to outbursts, especially in the advanced stages of the disease, resulting from an array of factors: a loss of self-control and inhibition, psychological and mental distress, physical pain or discomfort. When no longer able to communicate the right way, the older person might have no alternate option but to resort to hostility to express his or her needs.
- Stay calm – and safe. As difficult as it is to keep your cool when trying to help a person who is biting, hitting, scratching, or throwing objects, raising your voice or losing your patience will only worsen the older person’s behaviors. Stand back to ensure your protection, take a deep breath, and count to 5 prior to responding.
- Determine what’s leading to the outburst. It’s important to try to determine what prompted the violent behavior. Is the senior hungry? Too cold or hot? In need of a clean incontinence product? Has something transpired to lead to feelings of anger, embarrassment, or frustration? Is the person in any physical pain?
- The most effective reaction is often distraction. Once you’ve concluded that the senior’s fundamental needs are all met and hopefully were able to discover the root cause behind the behavior, re-establishing contentment often can be accomplished with a modification to environment or activity. Play some favorite music, browse through a photograph album, go outside for some fresh air and show the senior the flowers, trees, birds.
And as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Staying with a scheduled routine of meals, snacks, rest, and exercise is vital for those with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also insightful to keep a journal to document what’s triggering violent outbursts, the times of day they seem to be occurring, and what has worked (or not worked).
Most importantly, however, is making sure that your own needs for self-care are met. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Partnering with a professional respite care provider with expertise in providing specialized in home care in Algonquin or a nearby community is the ideal remedy for both the older adult with Alzheimer’s disease and the loved ones providing care.
At Inspired Home Care, providers of professional home care in Buffalo Grove and surrounding areas, we provide family caregivers the opportunity to take much-needed time to relax and recharge with our highly skilled, fully trained dementia care specialists. Contact our home care experts for a free in-home consultation to learn more at 847-787-7572.