Those providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia know all too well the varied and complex behaviors associated with the disease, and one of the most challenging is the change in temperament – the Jekyll and Hyde transformation from that sweet, gentle person into an angry, offensive bully. The emotional trauma those personality shifts can cause are often devastating, particularly for a family member who has been providing dedicated, selfless dementia care for the senior.
Trying not to take these troubling behaviors personally, as hard as that may be, and to remember that the person is usually reacting out of fear or frustration, is very important. These dementia care pointers can help soothe an angry situation and restore peace:
- Stay calm. Your loved one may pick up on your heightened agitation and become more agitated in turn – and likewise, is more apt to calm down himself if you keep your cool. Keeping your focus and trying to move the person’s attention to a different topic or activity can be helpful.
- Comfort the person. Refrain from arguing with your loved one, even though it may be a first instinct, and use a quiet, comforting and slow tone of voice. Think about what may be triggering your loved one’s feelings of anger so you can deal with those triggers, such as pain, overstimulation, or anxiety.
- Keep notes about behavioral triggers. In order to help avoid, or at least minimize a similar situation in the future, learn from the experience. Keep a diary of what happened, when it happened, and what worked (or didn’t work).
It’s of utmost importance for family caregivers to also save some time for themselves to renew energy and refresh their minds, especially after agitating episodes with their loved one. Home Matters is available to provide patient, compassionate, experienced Alzheimer’s and dementia care. We offer valuable respite care for families. Call us to learn more.