Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia have difficulty expressing themselves and communicating their needs, aggression and agitation are common. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly suggest that when dealing with a loved one who is exhibiting signs of agitation or aggression, you should first attempt to find the cause of the behavior. Some common causes of agitation/aggression that they provide are:
• Pain, depression, or stress
• Too little rest or sleep
• Soiled underwear or diaper
• Sudden change in a well-known place, routine, or person
• A feeling of loss—for example, the person may miss the freedom to drive
• Too much noise or confusion or too many people in the room
• Being pushed by others to do something—for example, to bathe or to remember events or people—when Alzheimer’s has made the activity very hard or impossible
• Feeling lonely and not having enough contact with other people
• Interaction of medicines
If you can determine the cause of the agitation or aggression, addressing the cause may stop the behavior. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly also provides a list of additional ways to cope with agitation or aggression:
1. Reassure the person. Speak calmly. Listen to his or her concerns and frustrations. Try to show that you understand if the person is angry or fearful.
2. Allow the person to keep as much control in his or her life as possible.
3. Coping with changes is hard for someone with Alzheimer’s. Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
4. Build quiet times into the day, along with activities.
5. Keep well-loved objects and photographs around the house to help the person feel more secure.
6. Try gentle touching, soothing music, reading, or walks.
7. Reduce noise, clutter, or the number of people in the room.
8. Try to distract the person with a favorite snack, object, or activity.
9. Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar, and “junk food” the person drinks and eats
For the caregiver’s own needs they suggest:
• Slow down and try to relax if you think your own worries may be affecting the person with Alzheimer’s.
• Try to find a way to take a break from caregiving.
These tips and the full article can be viewed at: http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2014/06/9-tips-for-coping-with-agitation-aggression.html?m=1