Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease’s Combative Stage

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The combative stage is one of the most challenging times for caregivers and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s. While your senior loved one’s journey might have had a few difficult moments along the way, it’s toward the later stages when you can expect to notice things such as aggression and anger. Understanding why the combative stage happens and how to handle it can soothe tension in your family while helping you figure out the best ways to take care of your loved one’s needs. 

Empathize with Your Loved One

The first thing to know is that your loved one’s aggression has nothing to do with you or the care you provide. Seniors tend to get combative due to the confusion and frustration they feel as they try to address their symptoms. For instance, consider how it would feel to be certain you needed to go somewhere and no one would let you out the door. You might also think about what it’s like for your loved one to be unable to communicate that he or she is in pain. Remembering that aggression is a display of your loved one’s illness can help you keep your cool when his or her behavior escalates. 

The cognitive challenges that accompany Alzheimer’s 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 Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of Elderly Home Care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Identify the Triggers

Finding out what makes your loved one more combative gives you a starting point for easing the challenging moments. Most seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are at their best at certain times of the day. Your loved one may be more combative in the evening, when he or she is tired or hungry. Your parent’s bad moods may also be triggered by things such as boredom or certain activities. For instance, some seniors don’t like bathing because their Alzheimer’s symptoms include a fear of water. Your loved one may dislike certain sensations, such as the feeling of a clothing seam on his or her skin. Removing triggers or planning ahead for them can help you keep your loved one calmer. 

Find Strategies that Work

Staying calm should always be your first line of defense against combative behavior. Your loved one’s anger is likely to escalate if you attempt to argue back. If necessary, try stopping the activity that’s making your loved one upset. Most things can wait until your parent is calm. You can also use distractions, such as a soothing back rub or a relaxing song, to redirect your loved one’s behavior. 

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of Ashburn home care service. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Seek Assistance from Others

Your role as a caregiver should never cause you to fear for your safety. You should also feel confident you won’t lose control and lash out at your loved one. This stage of your loved one’s condition is one of the hardest you’ll experience, and you need to know it’s okay to seek help when you need it. If your loved one becomes physically violent and you’re alone with him or her, be prepared to call for emergency backup. You can also hire a professional home caregiver to take over when you feel overwhelmed by your loved one’s behavior.

Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with Alzheimer’s. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Ashburn Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Whether your parent needs minor help with daily tasks or extensive 24-hour care, give us a call at (703) 982-0050 today.