| Management Strategies
- Some aspects of aggression may improve through drug therapy . Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss what options may be available.
- The person you care for may resent their decreasing control over their life and as a result act out in aggressive ways. Make sure you find ways to include the person as much as possible with their decision making and activities. For example, find out what activities they would like to do, what they would like to eat for meals, or what they would like to wear. Helping the person you care for to feel that they are involved and that they have some control, will improve their feelings of independence and self esteem.
- If there seems to be commonalities in what triggers the aggression or outbursts, try to eliminate or manage these aggravating situations when possible. For example, if they become angry when told when it is time to bathe, it may be as simple as asking them when they would prefer to bathe.
- Distraction techniques could assist in calming the person you care for. You could distract through the use of music, television, a particular food, or activity.
- Beginning a conversation with the person when they become aggressive may help to relax some with Alzheimer's disease , but others find direct acknowledgement only aggravates them further. Try to find out and talk about the underlying cause of the aggression to see whether they benefit from discussion.
- People tend to act aggressively when they are placed in unfamiliar situations, or are frightened. Try and create a warm and caring atmosphere for the person you care for, and try and keep it as familiar as possible. Putting up pictures of loved ones, playing their favourite music and cooking favourite foods all may help to maintain a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.
- If the person you care for tends to act up at meal, grooming, bathing or dressing times, it may be because they have feelings of resentment to you - the caregiver. These are all personal activities that they now require assistance with. They are dealing with feelings of frustration, loss of independence and anger towards the disease. Try and find ways to make these activities easier so that they may be done as independently as possible, and make sure to maintain their privacy the best you can.
- Many times aggression is a product of resentment or anger towards the disease. Sometimes counselling can help a person accept their diagnosis . A skilled therapist can assist in the process of sharing grief, despair, anger and self loathing. The extent of a person's dementia will dictate whether or not this is a possible route towards dealing with these emotional problems.
- If the person you care for is consistently verbally attacking others, it may help to talk to friends and relatives. As a caregiver you do not need to feel responsible for the behaviour of the person you care for. Instead, explain to friends and family the situation and let them know not to take the attacks personally.
- Sometimes leaving the room is the best solution. This allows both the caregiver and the person with dementia to have the time and space to calm down.
- Try to find if there are triggers that are causing thr=e agression (eg. noises, light, etc...).