If you’re currently taking care of or have taken care of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may have experienced situations where loved ones get agitated and angry. This anger can cause them to lash out at you for no apparent reason and accuse you of things that you have not done. Understandably, you can feel confused, hurt, and even irritated by these negative feelings, but it’s important to note that loved ones living with dementia are sometimes not in control of their emotions. In order to cope with such experiences, it’s good to know the causes of anger in dementia and how to respond to them.
Loss of Recognition
Loved ones with dementia may have the tendency to forget the faces of familiar people, such as family members and friends. This loss of recognition can cause them to lose a sense of control in their lives, which can impact their mental health. They can also grow fearful of the people around them, as well as themselves as they’re afraid to hurt their loved ones. For example, a loved one can mistake their family member or friend for being an intruder when entering the house.
Delusions and Hallucinations
While this may not affect everyone, some loved ones can experience bouts of delusions and hallucinations every now and then, which can pose a huge hazard. These distortions of reality can allow your loved ones to see things that are not there and experience situations that can increase the risk of them getting injured. When your loved ones do encounter these experiences, it’s best to quickly calm them down by reassuring them and not leaving their side.
Poor Food Intake
Many loved ones with dementia face challenges when it comes to mealtime. Whether it’s a lack of appetite or the tendency to wander around and not sit at the table, these actions can cause caregivers to feel stressed, which also puts the loved ones in a negative mood. The thing is, it’s highly crucial for loved ones to receive the proper nutrition each day for them to function well, so skipping meals should never be a solution. Therefore, if you find that your loved ones are uncooperative during mealtimes, you can help to promote a better eating experience by creating a more welcoming dining space or incorporating your loved ones’ favorite foods into their meals.
Misunderstandings and Arguments
This is by far another common experienced faced by many caregivers. Due to a lack of effective communication and understanding between the caregiver and loved one, both parties are unable to comprehend each other, which is how misunderstandings can occur. In most cases, caregivers simply wish to provide the best care for loved ones, but for older adults living with dementia, they either take a longer time or are no longer able to understand others. As such, caregivers should be incredibly patient by reasoning with them and repeating their instructions whenever necessary.
There’s no doubt taking care of loved ones with dementia can be a stressful and demanding task. However, if caregivers start to feel irritated, impatient, and frustrated, loved ones would most likely reflect those feelings as well and mirror those behaviors. As such, if possible, caregivers should remain calm at all times.