Essential Facts About Combative Behavior in Seniors with Alzheimer’s

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People with Alzheimer’s sometimes become combative, and while this behavior is typically associated with the disease’s late stages, it sometimes occurs in those who have early-stage Alzheimer’s. Seniors with Alzheimer’s who are combative may hit, push, or grab people. Here are some things you should know if your aging loved one with Alzheimer’s is displaying combative behavior.

Confusion and Discomfort Can Be Triggers

Two of the most common causes of combative behavior in those with Alzheimer’s are confusion and memory loss. Your loved one may be unaware that you’re trying to help and may feel threatened when you approach him or her, and aggression and combativeness may occur. Another trigger for combativeness is discomfort. If your loved one has had an incontinence accident and needs to be cleaned up, he or she may become combative. Similarly, if he or she is hungry, too hot or too cold, in pain, or has an infection, combative behaviors may occur. 

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 needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of homecare. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Music Can Be Soothing

People with Alzheimer’s, even those in the combative stage, often remember their favorite songs from “way back when.” It’s thought that the area of the brain that stores music memories is one of the last regions to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. At the first sign of combative behavior, sing one of your loved one’s favorite songs or play music on a radio, smartphone, or laptop. If you have a record player, ask your loved one to pick out some of his or her favorite records to listen to. Listening to music can defuse a volatile situation, and it may also change your loved one’s mood from angry to happy. 

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading San Antonio home care service provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Routines Are Important

Seniors who are in the combative stage of Alzheimer’s disease may become agitated and aggressive when their routines are disrupted. Straying from familiar routines can be stressful for those with Alzheimer’s because of their inability to handle unexpected situations. If you’ll need to deviate from a familiar routine, make sure to explain the new situation in great detail. For example, your loved one may become aggressive if you ask him or her to take a bath instead of a shower. Since the bathing process is different from the showering process, explain each step as you go along so your loved one knows what to expect.

Medication May Help

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, your efforts to redirect your loved one’s attention and defuse volatile situations may be less effective. Discuss your concerns with his or her physician, who may prescribe medications to help your loved one manage negative moods so combative behaviors are less likely to occur. A low dose of anti-anxiety medication may eliminate racing thoughts that can quickly escalate into combativeness and aggressive behaviors. 

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. San Antonio Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (210) 495-6300 today.





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