Some people with dementia become more aggressive and argumentative. Part of this is because of the changes that dementia brings to her brain and to how it operates. But there can be other causes, too, and some of them need to be handled medically. What’s most important is that you have a toolbox you can refer to that helps you to cope.
Skip the Topics that Set Her Off
If you already know that certain conversations or topics in general are likely to trigger aggressive behaviors from your senior, it’s best to avoid those as much as you can. These triggers could be seemingly benign, but they remind your senior of something, and therefore they become a key to a bigger situation than you want to deal with. It’s not always easy to keep up with what might be a trigger for your senior, but it’s important to at least try.
Keep Some Alternative Ideas Handy
Switching the conversation or introducing a new activity can help at least a little bit. You might want to consider keeping a list of the activities and topics that help your elderly family member to defuse herself a little bit. Keeping up with what works and what doesn’t gives you a chance to help your senior to avoid situations that allow her to get too worked up.
Avoid Arguing as Much as Possible
It’s difficult sometimes, especially when you’re tired and feeling a bit beaten up, but if you avoid arguing with your senior you can sometimes avoid making the situation worse. Tactical agreement with whatever she’s saying can help her to feel heard while also allowing you to have a much calmer experience with each other.
Rule Out Medical Causes
It’s really important to rule out potential medical causes, especially if the aggression is more frequent than usual or if it’s ramped up in severity. Sometimes the cause is merely that your elderly family member is frustrated by the changes her brain and body is going through. But other causes, like a potential urinary tract infection, really need medical intervention.
If your senior has never been a particularly aggressive person before it can feel like you don’t know her anymore. Taking frequent breaks can help you to deal with all of the various emotions that this circumstance brings up for you. Work with home care providers to set up a respite schedule that gets you what you need.
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