Agitation, Anger, and Aggression
How to handle it!
Alzheimers agitation, anger, and aggression can be very difficult for family members. Especially when this behavior is totally out of character from the person they were before the disease took over. The main cause for these behaviors is usually frustration. But they can appear out of the blue.
Prevention is the first course of action. You will need to learn what triggers the behaviors and try to eliminate the trigger. Maintain a calm environment. Listen to them if they are still able to talk. You must remain calm, keep your voice as soft as possible, and try to understand and solve the problem. Learn what you can do to appear non-threatening. You should stand sideways instead of face to face, keep 2-3 feet of space in between you, and use calming phrases. Calming phrases are "I understand", "how can I help you", and "everything will be OK".
Never argue with someone with Alzheimer's Disease! Their reasoning ability is gone. You will only add fuel to a fire you can't control.
Redirection will often eliminate the behavior. An example I use frequently is: a man in the middle stage of Alzheimer's Disease occasionally wants his car. He gets agitated and aggressive very easily. I tell him his daughter took the car in for an oil change and she will bring it back when it is done. He fusses for a minute and I redirect him to watch a movie while he waits for her. After a few minutes he completely forgets about the car.
One of my biggest concerns for caregivers at home is caregiver safety. Alzheimers agitation can lead to violence if not handled appropriately. The caregiver can easily become a victim. I believe this happens more often than any of us know. Many people don't understand the disease process or know how to diffuse a situation. They believe they can still reason with someone with Alzheimers agitation. This is not the case! I have seen many people with Alzheimer's Disease admitted to a nursing home because of the aggression. The spouse is often the only one at home with them. The spouse with Alzheimers aggression hurts the caregiver and the caregiver is often to embarrassed to tell other family members. All friends & family members should keep an eye out for the safety of the primary caregiver in the home.
There are medications available to help control aggressiveness. If you are living with someone who has Alzheimers aggressive behaviors, you need to make sure your doctor is aware of the aggression. There are several different medicines available and your doctor may have to try a couple of different ones until he finds which one works best for your family member.
There are also several natural calming ingredients which you can try. You can find them at your local healthfood store or online.
I have added the link below, it is to one of the more popular online stores which has a couple of different natural calming products.
Write About It Here!
Do you have an Alzheimers agitation intervention that works well for a family member? Share it! Other families would love to hear your ideas or suggestions.
Interventions That Have Worked for Others
Click on the links below to see helpful intervention ideas. They were all written by other visitors to this page.
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