Issues in Senior Care: When Dementia Causes Meanness and What You Should Do

senior careThose providing senior 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 pain those outbursts cause can be devastating, particularly for a caregiver who has been so dedicated and selfless to provide the senior care.

However, it is imperative to try not to take these frustrating behaviors personally. That may sound tough, but remind yourself that your loved one is most likely speaking from a place of fear and/or frustration. Use these tips to help diffuse 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. Minimizing distractions and trying to shift the person’s attention to a favorite activity can help.
  • Comfort the person. Rather than arguing with the person, which may be a first instinct, use a quiet, slow, and comforting tone. 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. If you were the one being provided with senior care, how would your be feeling?
  • Remember what caused the behavior. You can minimize or possibly avoid a future behavioral issue altogether by taking notes and learning from the experience. Keep a journal of what happened, when it happened, and what worked (or didn’t work).

Family caregivers should also save some time for themselves to renew energy and refresh their minds, especially after agitating episodes with their loved one. CareWorks Health Services is on hand to provide compassionate, patient, experienced senior care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, offering much needed respite for families in Laguna Hills, CA. Contact us to learn more.