If you're providing care for an elderly loved one who is living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, you understand how challenging and even overwhelming it can be at times. You may already know common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, disorientation, confusion, and difficulty recognizing or communicating with loved ones. But dementia also has many behavioural symptoms. For example, seniors living with dementia can also experience intense feelings of anger and display physical aggression from time to time, which can make it difficult for you to respond safely.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, anger and agitation from seniors living with dementia are responsive or reactive behaviors. That means these behaviors are a result of something they find frustrating or confusing in their environment. In addition, seniors who are in the later stages of dementia may start to lose control over their emotions, making it seem like they have disproportionate responses to minor inconveniences.
When seniors with dementia express anger, it can be a response to a variety of factors, including:
- Sensory overload
- Physical discomfort,
- Changes to environmental factors
- Not being able to properly communicate their feelings
- Grief as the world becomes less familiar due to worsening symptoms
- Feeling insecure or left behind
However, there are ways to manage anger or aggression. Since your loved one's anger is most likely a response to a situation or action, it's important to understand to identify possible reasons why their behaviour has changed and take steps to defuse the situation. However, if you're never had to provide care for someone living with dementia, you may not know how to properly respond to episodes of anger. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone.
At Senior Home Care by Angels, we offer comprehensive and professional dementia care services to support seniors and their families throughout Canada. Our caregivers can help your senior loved one with anything they may need. In addition to assisting seniors with everyday tasks, we can also help seniors living with dementia manage episodes of anger and frustration.
How Can Dementia Care from Senior Home Care by Angels Help Seniors with Dementia Manage Their Anger?
While preventing incidents of aggression or anger completely may not always be possible, there are many effective strategies for managing it. Here are some of the ways our caregivers can help your loved one manage intense negative emotions:
- Set a daily routine.
Setting a daily routine can make it far easier for seniors with dementia to reduce stress levels. People with dementia are easily confused, and making decisions like when to eat dinner or where to find the TV remote can be stressful for them. A daily schedule can make them feel safe and at ease.
When providing dementia care, our caregivers will keep your loved one's schedule and everyday routines in mind. Our care plans work with our clients' schedules and not the other way around, so our home care providers will be here to support your loved one when they need it most.
- Keep things calm.
People with dementia can have a hard time processing what is going on around them or understanding what people are asking of them, so it may take them far longer to respond compared to others. It is important not to rush people with dementia, as it can make them stressed.
When our caregivers provide dementia care, we make sure to speak slowly and use short, direct sentences. We can also make an effort to reduce background noises, as those can also make it more difficult for seniors with dementia to understand conversations.
- Make decisions and tasks simple.
People with dementia may find decision-making very stressful. Even decisions that seem simple like deciding what to wear, what to eat, or what time they'd like to go see their friends can make them feel overwhelmed.
To reduce agitation, our care providers will give your loved one more straightforward options such as wearing a long-sleeve shirt or a sweater. It may seem like this can limit a senior's independence and autonomy, but this method is very helpful in reducing levels of stress.
- Find and remove triggers.
Your loved one may have certain triggers that cause them to become angry or aggressive, such as a loud noise or certain colours. At Senior Home Care by Angels, our caregivers can help your loved one avoid these triggers as much as possible. For example, if your senior loved one is upset by a voice on the radio or a face on the TV, we will make sure to not play those stations or turn the device off if the trigger appears on an unrelated station.
- Use distractions.
Sometimes, triggers cannot be removed from an environment. When this is the case, our caregivers can keep your loved one distracted by playing their favorite music, turning on their favorite TV channel, or having a conversation with them.
- Take a step back.
When providing dementia care, our caregivers understand that seniors who get aggressive often need some time and space. Rest assured that we will treat your loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve and will provide space for them when needed. Unless your loved one becomes a physical danger to our caregivers or themselves, we will never physically restrain them. We will also avoid arguments, as they can lead your loved one to become more confused or aggressive.
How Senior Home Care by Angels Helps Seniors Living with Dementia
When providing dementia care, our goal is to improve the client's quality of life and provide the support they need so they can continue to live in their beloved home while staying safe and comfortable. We have experience with providing personal care, meaningful companionship, help with running errands, medication reminders, overnight monitoring, and other home care solutions for seniors with various types of dementia such as Alzheimer's. Best of all, our care plans can be personalized based on the stage of dementia your loved one is currently in, the level of care they need, and their schedule so they can get the support they truly need.
Whether your loved one needs temporary respite care or long-term care, you can have peace of mind knowing your loved one is in good hands with dementia care from Senior Home Care by Angels.
If you have a senior loved one who you think could benefit from our dementia care services, contact your local Senior Home Care by Angels office today to schedule a free in-home consultation.