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How to Prevent Aggression and Agitation Resulting from Dementia

By Debbie Waddell, 9:00 am on December 22, 2015

Progressive cognitive decline is difficult to accept and manage for both a senior and for his or her family. One of the biggest challenges families may face when providing in-home care in Roseville is managing a senior’s agitation and anger, which are often symptoms of dementia-related conditions. However, there are ways to alleviate these emotions or prevent them from developing.

Maintain a Calm Environment

A relaxing environment can help make it less likely for your loved one to become agitated and angry. Ensure your loved one’s environment is as free of stressors as possible. Environmental triggers can be a big stressor, so turn off bright lights and ambient noise such as a television that isn’t being watched. Also, try to ensure your loved one has space and privacy by limiting visitors. Let your loved one have privacy if he or she wants, provided it is safe to do so. Ensure your loved one’s space is filled with familiar comfort objects and speak calmly and positively to help him or her feel relaxed. 

Keep a Routine

Since seniors with dementia find it difficult to remember things, even small shake-ups in the daily routine can irritate them, making it a challenge to provide effective dementia home care in Roseville. Your loved one is likely to become afraid, annoyed, or stressed out by changes in his or her routine, so any changes should be avoided when possible. Make a list of all things that need to be done during the day and create a schedule based on your list, keeping the times the same each day. Your loved one will likely experience comfort from following a routine each day even if he or she can’t remember what comes next. Also, make sure you simplify tasks and routines so they aren’t frustrating for your loved one. 

Make Personal Comfort a Priority

Seniors with dementia sometimes have trouble communicating or even remembering personal care needs, but this doesn’t stop the body from feeling distress related to those needs. Your loved one may not tell you or even realize he or she is hungry, but hunger can still cause agitation and annoyance. Keep in mind all of your loved one’s physical and emotional comfort needs and address them regularly so he or she does not have to wait long. For instance, serve smaller meals more frequently so your loved one will never be become agitated by hunger. Also, be sure your loved one keeps a regular sleep-wake pattern and has a nap in the afternoon if he or she seems to get tired. Monitor the temperature to be sure he or she is comfortable as well. Bear in mind emotional needs are equally important to physical needs. Take time to talk with your loved one if he or she is asking questions, seems stressed or worried, or is expressing fears. Avoid being frustrated even if you just answered those questions because your loved one may not remember asking them. Ask your loved one what he or she needs or wants in an easily understood format like asking yes or no questions or offering one or two options to choose from rather than an array of options.

Encourage Exercise

Your loved one may not be capable of doing a full cardio routine, but even a small amount of exercise can have huge benefits for people at any age. Put together an exercise plan in line with your loved one’s capabilities. If you’re not sure what your loved one is capable of, ask his or her doctor. Try to make exercise routines enjoyable by including walking in a park, gardening, dancing, or playing with a pet. Regular exercise can reduce your loved one’s stress level by releasing endorphins and help him or her feel more relaxed.

If you need help managing your loved one’s daily routine and maintaining a comfortable environment, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer dementia and Alzheimer’s care Roseville families can rely on and trust, and all of our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program specifically designed to help seniors with memory-related conditions. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 916.226.3737 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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