6 Things to Know about the Combative Stage of Alzheimer’s

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As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, a senior’s actions change. The family caregiver role also needs to be adjusted to manage the symptoms of the disease, especially combativeness, which is typically worse in the later stages. Continue reading to learn about the combative stage of Alzheimer’s and steps you can take to address the behavioral issue. 


1. It Can Happen Suddenly

There’s no set date or time when combative behavior might begin, so you should be prepared to handle your aging loved one’s aggression even in the early stages. Your loved one could be doing great and suddenly have physical and verbal outbursts while sitting at the dinner table, when you’re running errands, or during the middle of the night. Understanding more about behavioral problems and developing ways to address them could help you prepare for sudden outbursts. 


2. It Might Be Caused by Physical Discomfort

Pain and discomfort often cause combativeness in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disrupts the ability to concentrate, understand conversations, speak clearly, and describe familiar objects. As a result, you may notice your loved one speaking less often. To communicate physical discomfort, he or she might scream, kick, bite, or display other combative behavior. Checking your loved one’s comfort levels to ensure he or she is doing well could reduce anger and aggression. 

The cognitive challenges that accompany Alzheimer’s often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Pearland Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. 


3. Environmental Factors May Play a Role

An overstimulating environment can cause combativeness to worsen in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. For instance, if you’re conversing with your loved one while the television is on and various distracting sounds are coming from the kitchen area, he or she might become overwhelmed by the background noises and lash out. Minimize environmental distractions and only plan activities at times when your loved one is at his or her best. 


4. Some Causes Are Treatable

Some causes of combative behavior require medical treatment, such as prescribing new medication or altering current prescriptions. When you take your parent to see his or her primary care physician, the doctor can determine if another disease or treatable condition is causing your loved one’s aggressive behavior. If so, the doctor can take the necessary steps to treat the problem and reduce combativeness. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


5. It’s Important to Remain Calm

The way you respond to combative behavior can determine how bad the situation becomes. Always remain calm, look for ways to distract and redirect your loved one’s attention, and focus on his or her feelings. It’s important to offer reassurance during these moments.


6. You Shouldn’t Take Things Personally

Although it can be difficult to hear your loved one yell hurtful or even obscene words at you, you should never take it personally. The disease is causing your loved one’s brain to deteriorate, and he or she isn’t acting rationally. Try to stay focused and remember to take extended breaks so you can rest and regroup. 

Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with Alzheimer’s. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Pearland Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To talk to one of our friendly Care Managers and create a customized senior care plan, call us today.