Alzheimer’s Aggression: How to Control It
Most of the time patients with Alzheimer’s disease lash out without any reason. They get easily upset and angry which is why they can scream, insult or curse anyone anytime. Even they can throw off things and resist the caregivers by hitting or pushing hard. However, it only happens in its later stages.
Although the reason is unknown yet aggression is the prime sign of Alzheimer’s disease. It refers to the sudden reaction when the person feels frustrated or confused.
While they are doing it, you must understand that it is not on purpose. You have certain things to do for making them feel better and reduce the chances of bouts of impulsive reaction.
Know the triggers
It can flare up with no warning or indication. Although it is not obvious yet several times the triggers can easy to indicate at the time of the issue. Regular ones are:
- Discomfort due to pain, lack of sleep and side effects from medication
- The surroundings especially lots of clutter, excessive activity and loud noises
- Confusion because of getting so many questions all at once, understanding the caregivers’ stress and understanding complex instructions
- Having a feeling of invading the personal space even with changing clothes or bathing
- Noticing the frustration or anger of others
- Feeling like in a rush
- Being told that they are wrong or criticizing them
- No permission to do specific things or going somewhere
- Forcible act which they want to perform
- Feeling of threat
- Thinking of happening something which was not in real
The changes in the daily routine or surrounding can become the reason of the aggression. Such as:
- Noisy room
- Lots of unknown people
- Use of drug, caffeine and alcohol
- Change in the normal routine
- Reaction to emotions or stress
- Uncomfortable clothes
- Dark room
Their body can be the reason:
- Exhibiting symptoms of depression like more or less sleep, having more or less food and having no interest in usual activities
- Having pain
- Feeling sick
- Feeling tired, thirsty, cold and urge to make frequent bathroom trips
How to keep your closed ones calm
After you come to know the reason behind their aggression then, bring a plan to observe if it helps or not! In case your plan-A fails then try out plan-B. Remember, you need to make an attempt for several things and a single plan really cannot help you out.
You need to consult with the doctor or counsellor for essential advice if nothing is going to help you.
In case, the aggression triggers by contacting with any person including you:
- You should speak as calm and softly as possible even if you are in frustration, sad or angry. To make sure that it is safe, move away from the situation for a while and take some deep breaths
- Comfort the person rather than pointing them as wrong despite they are not saying the truth
- Be understanding and patient always
- Don’t tell them that they are doing wrong as it will worsen down the things
- Speak what you like about them rather than saying which they shouldn’t do
If aggression takes place at the time of eating, toileting, dressing and bathing:
- Spread the chore into easy, small and easy steps and give them directions one at a time
- Don’t let them in rush
- Always explain the thing you are about to do prior to begin it
- Provide them with easy and simple choices
If the aggression takes place because of the routine and surroundings then:
- Change your daily routine to keep them calm
- Rather than dictating them not to go certain places keep hanging sheets and fabric with label “Do Not Enter”
- Limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Mute the TV or radio while talking to them
- Keep yourselves far from noisy places like loud restaurants
- Use bright and well-lit indoors at night
What to do if they can cause harm to anybody
Some tips are here which can assist you to keep the loved one safe:
- Store sharp and dangerous weapons like glass, knives and gums safely and securely
- Always try to keep the patients distracted by walking, asking them for help, grooving on favourite music and with snack
- Provide some space to them if you cannot remain calm
- Avoid holding them back unless it is necessary for the safety as they can get hurt or become angry
- While holding them back always seek help from someone
After calming down your closed one check for wounds, cuts and bruises and give necessary treatment to them. For occasional bouts of aggression, consult with the counsellor and doctor at Clinic Mantra for further tips and guidance.
Tips to ease out the Alzheimer’s aggression
After you become familiar with the triggers of Alzheimer’s aggression, take the following steps to prevent it:
- Always think ahead in case your closed ones are confused, overstimulated and uncomfortable.
- Never ask a lot of questions at a time or provide complex instructions or criticize. By this way you will not be at confusing stage or upset because of the person you truly care.
- Restrict the amount of clutter, activity and loud noises around them.
- Avoid argument as the patients have different notions about every topic. So, put them in a challenge or sit and listen to them and then ask questions.
- Try to focus on the past as this condition affects the short-term memory. So, it is quite easy to talk and recall distant memories than what happened in a day or two.
- Making use of memory cues. When the condition worsens down, it becomes difficult to carry out everyday tasks about how and when to get dressed and brush the teeth. Reminder notes all around the home will protect you from frustration.
It is really not easy to take proper care of a person having Alzheimer’s disease as they can lash you out. So, you can feel sad, isolated and overwhelmed at the same time.
In case, you start feeling depressed too then reach out to people who genuinely care for you and help you out from the situation before it worsens down.