How to Reduce Aggression in Seniors with Dementia

How to Avert Aggressive Behavior in Aging Adults with Dementia

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Aggression in seniors with dementia places them and their caregivers at risk for injuries. While outbursts and combative behavior may be unavoidable in certain situations, there are some strategies you can use to reduce aggression. Here are some ways to avert aggressive behavior in a senior loved one with dementia.

Ensure Comfort

Seniors with dementia sometimes display aggressive behavior for no apparent reason. However, they may act out aggressively when they’re in pain or otherwise uncomfortable. If your loved one is unable to tell you he or she is uncomfortable, he or she may become frustrated and aggressive. At the first sign of hostility or aggressiveness, check to see if your loved one has a fever or any other signs of an infection or illness. Also, offer food or water—hunger and thirst can occasionally cause aggressive behavior in people with dementia.

Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. New Hampshire seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

Try Pet Therapy

Pet therapy has been shown to alleviate anxiety and stress while reducing aggression in seniors with dementia. If your loved one doesn’t live with a dog or cat, contact an animal shelter to see if they’ll allow him or her to spend time with a homeless animal. If your loved one responds favorably, consider adopting a pet. Aggression in those with dementia sometimes stems from loneliness and lack of companionship. Pet ownership gives seniors a sense of purpose and joy while creating an unbreakable bond.

Serve Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fresh seafood provides omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients promote cerebral circulation, and they’re also thought to prevent depression, anxiety, and aggressive behaviors in those with dementia. If your loved one doesn’t enjoy fish, talk to the doctor about fish oil supplements. After taking fish oil supplements for just a couple of weeks or so, your loved one may be less likely to become aggressive. While omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, they shouldn’t be taken with prescription anticoagulant drugs or aspirin because the combination may heighten the risk of excessive bleeding. 

The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Address Sleep Problems

Seniors with dementia who don’t get enough sleep often become anxious and may experience mood swings. Fatigue can lead to unwanted behaviors such as aggression, so it’s important for your loved one to get enough recuperative sleep to feel energized and rested the next day. To promote sleepiness, avoid serving caffeinated beverages, sugary foods, and foods high in fat before bedtime, as they may disrupt sleep. Mild exercise during the day can also prepare your loved one for a restful night’s sleep. However, too much exercise right before retiring for the night may overstimulate your parent. If insomnia persists, talk to your loved one’s physician, who may recommend a mild sedative.

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 New Hampshire home care service 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. Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (603) 471-3004 today.

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