Of the various troublesome behaviors that tend to emerge in people with Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps the most daunting is physical violence. Even a formerly calm senior can be at risk of outbursts, specifically in the more advanced stages of the disease, caused by an array of factors: a loss of self-control and inhibition, psychological distress, physical pain or discomfort. When unable to communicate in a healthy way, the senior might have no alternative but to turn to combativeness to express his or her needs.
The dementia care team at Home With You Senior Care, the experts in memory care in Pikesville and surrounding areas, can help. When in the middle of a violent outburst, keep these tips in mind:
- Remain calm – and safe. As difficult as it is to keep your cool when up against someone who is biting, hitting, scratching, or throwing objects, raising your voice or losing your patience will only elevate the older person’s behaviors. Step back to ensure your protection, take a deep breath, and count to ten before responding.
- Find out what is behind the outburst. It’s important to try to establish what caused the violent behavior. Is the senior hungry? Too warm or cold? In need of a clean incontinence product? Has something transpired to set off feelings of anger, shame, or stress? Is the senior in any physical pain?
- The recommended reaction is often distraction. Once you’ve concluded that the person’s primary needs are all met and hopefully were able to find out the underlying cause behind the behavior, restoring contentment often can be achieved through a change in environment or activity. Play some favorite songs, look through a photo album, go outside for some fresh air and comment on the birds, trees, flowers.
And as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Staying with a daily routine of meals, snacks, rest, and exercise is crucial for those with Alzheimer’s. It’s also very helpful to keep a log to document what’s triggering violent outbursts, the times of day they seem to be happening, and what has worked (or not worked).
Most importantly, however, is making sure that your own needs for self-care are met. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Partnering with a professional with expertise in providing the specialized memory care in Pikesville and nearby communities is the ideal solution for both the person with Alzheimer’s and the loved ones providing care.
At Home With You Senior Care, we enable family caregivers the chance to take much-needed time to relax and recharge with our professional, experienced dementia care experts. Reach out to us for a free in-home consultation to discover more about how we provide the kind of memory care Pikesville and the surrounding communities trust the most. To learn more about all of the other areas we serve in Maryland, please visit our service area page.