5 Ways to Address Combative Behavior in a Loved One with Dementia

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5 Ways to Address Combative Behavior in a Loved One with Dementia

In the later stages of dementia, seniors often lose the ability to control their emotions, which can lead to combative behavior. For many caregivers, this type of behavior can be overwhelming and difficult to handle. Luckily, there are quite a few steps you can take to address your aging loved one’s aggressiveness in a safe and reasonable fashion. You might also be able to identify some of the issues that trigger your loved one’s unwanted behavior, allowing you to avoid those problems in the future.

  1. Make Sure Your Loved One Isn’t in Pain

Many health complications go unnoticed when an individual has dementia. This condition makes it difficult to verbalize discomfort, and ongoing pain could trigger combative behavior, which is just one of the reasons you must make sure your loved one remains clean, comfortable, and well-fed. You should also regularly check for any signs of injury, such as blood on clothes, discolored skin, or inflammation.

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  1. Keep Your Emotions Under Control

Losing control of your own emotions is one of the worst mistakes you can make when your loved one is being combative. Taking care of a senior with dementia can be tiring and stressful, but you need to make sure you remain calm when an outburst occurs. If you feel angry or annoyed, step out of the room for a moment and collect your thoughts. You must also make sure you take care of your emotional health and ask for help when you’re getting close to burnout.

  1. Distract Your Loved One

When it comes to handling combative behavior, very few strategies are as effective as distraction. A seemingly insignificant distraction could completely defuse the situation and give your loved one a chance to settle down. There are many ways to distract seniors with dementia, and you should experiment to see which options work for you. Turning on a television show, playing a catchy tune, and asking your loved one to do a simple chore are all excellent distractions.

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  1. Use Soft Words & Reassuring Body Language

Some outbursts occur when seniors with dementia feel as if they’re being ignored or treated unfairly. Instead of arguing with your loved one when he or she is experiencing those feelings, try to empathize. Saying a few kind words while placing your hand on your loved one’s shoulder could have a huge impact on his or her demeanor.

  1. Try a Cooling-Off Period

After your loved one has calmed down slightly, you might still need to give him or her some time to regain control of his or her emotions. As long as your loved one is in a safe and comfortable environment, you can leave him or her alone for at least a few minutes. Even if you’re the primary caregiver, your loved one could remain agitated if you stay in the room. Once a few minutes have passed, you can head back into the room with a snack or treat.

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Potomac elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Assisting Hands Home Care Potomac is here to help. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your parent, give us a call in MD at (301) 363-2580 today.

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