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What to Do if Mom or Dad Becomes Combative

By Lauren Robinson, 8:00 am on

The idea of an aging parent becoming combative is heart wrenching for the adult child who has taken on the role of caregiver. While coping with a loved one’s unusual behaviors, outbursts and harsh criticisms can be emotionally trying, one of the single best things that you can do is to think about how you will handle the situation in advance.

As a leading provider of hourly and live-in care in New Hampshire, we wanted to list a few strategies for managing the combative behaviors of an aging loved one:

  • Remain Calm – Although it can be difficult to remain calm when surprised by a loved one’s sudden change in behavior, reacting by raising your voice or scolding your loved one often makes the situation worse. You may further agitate or upset your loved one, causing a small issue to escalate. Try to remain as calm as possible and look to identify the source of the problem, what is actually causing the outburst or unusual behavior.
  • Remove Yourself –If your loved one can be safely left alone, don’t be afraid to walk away from the situation. This gives your loved one a moment to gain composure and to recollect his or her thoughts. It can also allow you time away from the situation so you can return calm and ready to talk things out with your aging loved one.
  • Seek Outside Help – Combative behavior is often associated with cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you are unable to adequately assist or manage your loved one’s combative behaviors, it may be necessary to seek the help of a dementia specialist. These in-home caregivers are trained in how to care for seniors with dementia as well as those with cognitive impairments. Click here to learn more about professional in-home dementia care in New Hampshire.

Being prepared for combative behavior can help in making sure situations do not escalate. However, family caregivers should also seek help from support groups and forums if they are finding it difficult to cope with the changes their loved one is experiencing on an emotional level. Venting frustrations and sharing stories with others in similar situations can lift the burden off of overwhelmed family caregivers.

To learn more about in-home care for seniors, visit our website at www.newhampshirehomecareassistance.com or contact a Care Manager directly at 603-471-3004 and request a free, no-obligation consultation.