People with Alzheimer’s disease commonly experience anger and agitation. It can be challenging for caregivers to help their senior loved ones when they are experiencing these negative emotions. In most cases, there is a reason behind their feelings. By learning what causes a loved one to become upset, caregivers can take steps to put them at ease.
4 Common Triggers for Anger and Agitation
- Unmet needs
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease struggle to understand their needs. They may become frustrated when they can’t identify pain or another form of discomfort. As a result, their frustration may turn into anger. If your loved one becomes upset, do your best to figure out why. Here are a few things you can try:
- Offer them a snack and a cup of water to see if they are hungry or thirsty.
- Ask your loved one if they need to use the restroom.
- See if they are touching an area of their body, which could indicate the area hurts.
- Environmental factors
Many environmental factors can cause a person with Alzheimer’s to become angry or agitated. One common trigger is overstimulation. Because people with dementia may have trouble processing information, situations that are crowded, loud, and busy can be overwhelming. Seniors with dementia might become upset because they are unable to cope. To keep your loved one at ease, try to keep their space quiet and organized.
It’s not uncommon for seniors with Alzheimer’s to have trouble sleeping. Not only have studies suggested the disease reduces deep sleep, but it has also been shown to affect circadian rhythm. Common sleep-related disorders, like sleep apnea, can also negatively impact sleep quality. Regardless of the reason, lack of sleep can cause anyone to become irritable. Do your best to ensure your loved one maintains healthy sleeping habits. Best practices include establishing times to wake up and go to bed and a nighttime routine.
Many caregivers notice their loved one’s symptoms worsen in the evening. This is a process referred to as sundowners syndrome, or sundowning. Many caregivers manage their loved one’s sundowning symptoms by helping maintain good sleep habits. In addition to staying on schedule and establishing a routine, take steps to wind down before bed. Listen to relaxing music or work on a quiet activity, like coloring.
Managing Anger and Agitation
Although it’s not always possible to eliminate anger and agitation, there are ways to ease these feelings. Understanding triggers can help caregivers know how to respond when their loved ones are upset. Doing so can have a huge impact on your caregiving relationship.
Specialized Dementia Care at Heritage Senior Communities
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and are struggling to manage their feelings of agitation and anger, you might want to consider memory care. Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care across Michigan. Our communities are designed to reduce many symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including agitation and anger. Contact us today to learn more.