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July 6, 2016

Coping Calmly and Safely with Aggressive Behaviors from Your Parent with Alzheimer’s Disease

Homecare Chicago IL

Homecare Chicago IL

Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult with Alzheimer’s disease can be an extremely stressful experience. This progressive disease can change rapidly, requiring you to adapt to the changes as they come to ensure that your parent gets the highest quality homecare possible throughout their aging years. Sometimes, however, the symptoms that develop can be difficult for you to handle, and may even put you at risk. One of these symptoms is aggressive behaviors.

Aggressive behaviors occur in a large percentage of aging adults who are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and can manifest themselves in many ways, including: 

  • Lashing out
  • Biting
  • Using profanity
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Spitting
  • Resisting assistance
  • Throwing things
  • Yelling

This can be an extremely unnerving situation for you, and it is important that you understand how best to handle it so that you can protect yourself and your aging parent.

Use these tips to help you calmly and safely cope with aggressive behaviors from your parent with Alzheimer’s disease: 

  • Identify the primary cause. Aggressive behaviors can seem like they come out of nowhere with no reason behind them, but this is unlikely. More likely is that there is an unmet need that is causing your parent distress. When the negative behaviors arise, quickly evaluate whether there is an obvious unmet need such as hunger, thirst, anxiety, tiredness, pain, illness, frustration, or fear. If you can find this cause, do your best to resolve it.
  • Blame the illness. Quickly remind yourself that this is not your parent, but the disease. This can help you to keep your emotions down and maintain your perspective.
  • Do not match them. It is a natural response when you feel attacked to want to lash back out to protect yourself. Avoid this compulsion. Do not attempt to “match” your parent’s anger, volume, or aggression as this is likely to just make the situation worse. Instead, stay very calm and speak to them in a quiet, reassuring tone.
  • Get safe. If your calm approach does not affect your parent, or the aggressive behavior escalates and you are in danger, get yourself into a safe situation as quickly as possible. Leave the room, go into the bathroom and lock the door, or step out of the house. Get in touch with emergency medical services if necessary.

If your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and you feel that you are not able to handle the challenges of their homecare, or simply want them to have a wider range of care to keep their mind stimulated, elderly care may be the ideal option for you. An elderly homecare services provider can create a custom course of care tailored around your parent’s specific challenges and limitations so that they can maintain the quality of life that they desire and deserve, while also managing their symptoms and fulfilling their daily needs. This type of homecare does not just benefit your aging parent, however. Knowing that there is someone else there to help you with the tasks of caring for your parent can dramatically reduce your stress and help you to feel calmer and more in control, improving your ability to care for your senior, and yourself.

If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home Homecare Services in Chicago IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.

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"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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