This past summer I have been fighting my way through the system to get help for my grandmother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It can be a disheartening task when it seems that everything you do is for naught. The system is just not a great place when you do not know much about this disease.The biggest help to me was the national Alzheimer’s Organization and a great nurse friend. You have to become active in their care.
One of the hardest challenges as of late has been her anger and aggression. It comes and goes in a mili-second. The anger can sometimes be full force fury. It takes a moment to reassure her and get her to focus back, but she does focus back.
You are trying your best to care for your loved one, but may feel like you are the target of hostility shown by him or her. I have found that I must keep in mind that there may be triggers for her anger.
The anger and aggression is often from:
- Sensory overloads such as strange situations, sudden and loud noises or movements, and being exposed to groups of people may cause these responses.·
- Disruption of sleep patterns may decrease your loved one’s ability to deal with his or her emotions.
- Physical discomfort, such as arthritis pain, will increase the chances of lashing out at you, the caregiver.
- Your loved one’s impaired vision or hearing may cause a misinterpretation of sound or your actions.
- Adverse effects of medications can lead to confusion, anger, aggression, and even to seeing or hearing things that are not there
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Do not interpret anger as you would from a well person. Anger is exaggerated in a confused person, who may not be angry at all. The anger is probably a result of a misunderstanding of what is happening.
Here are few things that can help you out:
- Simplify his or her environment by reducing noise, number of people, and clutter.
- He or she will usually quickly forget the episode and can be distracted by something he or she likes to do, such as a walk, favorite activity, or a treat.
- Keep furniture and objects in the same place because familiar surroundings will help to offer a feeling of comfort.
Let me know how you make out? I am anxious to hear how others are surviving this trying time.
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