It’s late in the evening. You’ve had a long day, had trouble at the office, and then all you wanted to do was return home, relax for a few minutes, and then crawl into bed. However, you’ve been taking care of your aging father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some time ago. On this particular visit, things weren’t as simple as they had been in the past.
He showed aggressiveness.
This was the first time you noticed him being aggressive with you and your mother. You may have had some expectation about this occurring because you studied the various signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s for a while, but he had never exhibited the aggressive tendencies that some people dealing with this form of dementia have shown in the past.
You were completely unprepared to deal with it.
It may have been a physical form of aggression, such as him throwing something in your direction or across the room. More likely, though, it would start out as verbal aggression. He may have said some hurtful things to you, things you might never have expected him to say.
What was your reaction?
Many family caregivers react the same way: they become defensive. Did you respond to him? Did you get angry? Did you say things to hurt him as well?
While not helpful at all, these aren’t unusual responses. So, what’s the best way to handle aggressiveness when your father exhibits it, whether it’s for the first time or this has been going on for weeks or months?
First, remain calm.
This is one of the toughest things for family caregivers to do. You have a personal relationship with this individual and having to deal with verbal or physical aggression from them is not always easy, especially if it’s never been exhibited before.
Keeping calm, though, is the first important and even vital component to resolving the situation effectively, not just for you but for him as well.
Second, offer redirection.
When a person with Alzheimer’s becomes aggressive, it is often the direct result of changes in their brain. They may not be aware of what they’re saying or doing, or at least aware it is wrong.
They may be extremely confused and anxious about their surroundings, the people with them, or what’s happening to their mind. When you offer redirection, guiding your father into a normal routine that he would follow when getting ready for bed at the end of the day, it can help to derail the situation.
Third, consider stepping out of the room.
As long as your father is safe and not a threat to himself or others, it may be best to simply step out of the room for a while until he calms down. This can also give you a chance to settle your mind, nerves, and thoughts.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Alzheimer’s care in Miami, FL, please contact the caring staff at Providence Healthcare Services. Call (305) 680-5349.
Providence Healthcare Services provides geriatric and pediatric services throughout all of Miami-Dade and parts of Monroe County.We are a Medicare and Medicaid certified and accredited home health agency offering comprehensive nursing, therapies, personal and non-medical care, and healthcare staffing services.
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