Watching as your senior loved one lashes out at you can be disheartening, and combativeness in seniors with dementia can sometimes reach abusive levels. Although you may know this behavior is part of the disease, it still hurts to watch your loved one be so upset. When your loved one turns combative, you must take action to help him or her calm down and make sure everyone involved stays safe. In most cases, you’ll need to use several different strategies that can be adjusted to fit a rapidly changing situation.
Check for Physical Discomfort
The first thing you should do is identify the root cause of the behavior. Your loved one may be hurt, hungry, or overly tired. Addressing your parent’s physical needs may soothe his or her emotions. If your loved one is shouting, he or she may be able to tell you what’s wrong, such as being angry about having to bathe. If your parent is upset about something you can control, consider putting off that activity for at least a few minutes.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Oakville seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
Be a Calm and Compassionate Ally
You want your loved one to understand you’re trying to help, even if you have to get your parent to do something he or she doesn’t want to do, such as taking medication. Avoid yelling back or displaying any sign of aggression. Use a calm and soothing voice as you offer a few words of empathy. Once your loved one feels like you’re an ally, he or she may calm down and try to work with you.
Remove Your Loved One from the Situation
Combative seniors can become a danger to other people’s safety if the aggressive behavior occurs in public or a busy household. If your loved one becomes combative at a family party, it may be better to persuade him or her to follow you to a quieter part of the house. If he or she won’t go with you, you can ask the other people to leave. You can also remove yourself from the room until your loved one calms down if the behavior reaches a level that puts you in physical danger.
The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Keep Your Parent’s Hands Busy
Seniors who are verbally combative may need an outlet for their stress. Try giving your loved one soft objects, such as a textured squeeze ball or a fidget blanket. Your loved one may also switch gears if you offer an opportunity to do an activity that soothes him or her, such as folding towels or painting for a few minutes.
Bring in Outside Help
Learning how to handle combative behavior takes time, and you may worry about what could happen if your loved one gets so aggressive you can’t calm him or her down. Seniors can still cause injuries to others by hitting someone hard or throwing an object across the room. If your loved one’s aggression is dangerous, bring in a professional caregiver who can provide you with support as you work through this stage.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Oakville at-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (905) 337-1200 today.