Understanding Anger with Alzheimer's Disease

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Senior Care: Understanding Anger with Alzheimer’s

By Ted Holmgren, 12:39 am on November 21, 2014

Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes progressive deterioration of the brain cells, usually over a period of years. Physicians have detected, on average, five stages to this disease. Few symptoms may be had during early stages of the disease, however, by the moderate stages, aggressive physical behaviors may begin to appear.

As a trusted provider of in-home Alzheimer’s care in Scottsdale, we understand how difficult it can be to watch a loved one progress through the stages of Alzheimer’s. While some days will inevitably be harder than others, it is important that family caregivers keep in mind that their loved one’s changes in behavior are out of their control.

Researchers are uncertain of what triggers the sudden outbursts of Alzheimer’s patients, but studies and research has found that several factors may play a role. In the moderate to later stages of Alzheimer’s, seniors have usually lost the ability to communicate well. Therefore, a senior may exhibit anger or agitation because they are not able to communicate that they are in pain or discomfort. Other possible causes for behavior changes could be from prescribed medications.

Environmental factors that may contribute to outbursts can be over-stimulation caused by large crowds or unfamiliar environments. Try to keep a notebook that tracks your loved one’s behaviors and note where you were when your loved one started to act out. For instance, if you find that your loved one is frequently agitated at the grocery store, the stimulating environment may be causing them to feel overwhelmed and frightened.

The time of day also plays a part in how cognizant and functional your loved one may be. After a good night’s rest, most seniors with Alzheimer’s are typically more aware and able to perform activities in the morning. Caregivers should determine when their loved one is more likely to have outbursts of anger and avoid making appointments, running errands or having visitors at those times.

Finally, your mood can also be a factor in how your loved one is acting. Alzheimer’s patients often look to the people they trust to gauge the “danger” of a given situation. Therefore, when you act panicked or overwhelmed, they will often mimic that feeling. Try to be aware of your emotions and how you are reacting to situations. If you feel that you are lashing out or are constantly stressed, it may be time to seek respite from a professional hourly caregiver in Scottsdale. Taking a break will give you the opportunity to relax and can ensure that you are able to provide the highest level of care to your loved one.

If you are concerned about your ability to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s as the disease progresses, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Home Care Assistance of Scottsdale is a leading provider of senior home care and we specialize in Alzheimer’s and memory care. Along with our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™ which promotes brain health and mental acuity, we have a team of highly trained Alzheimer’s caregivers who are available for both hourly and live-in care. For more information or to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 480.448.6215 today and speak with a friendly Care Manager.