Tips for Caregivers: Dealing with Anger; Practical ways of helping you care for a person with memory loss and confusion.
People with memory loss and confusion sometimes become agitated, angry or violent. These behaviors can be very hard on caregivers and may even become dangerous. The following tips are designed to help you avoid and defuse angry outbursts.
- Remember that anger is a symptom:
*Try not to take angry outbursts personally.
*Remember that anger is often the result of loss of control or frustration.
*Look for early signs of frustration, such as fidgeting. Try to distract the person before violent outbursts occur.
2. Respond calmly:
*Respond to anger and outbursts in a calm and direct manner.
*Make eye contact. Speak in clear, short, easy-to-understand sentences.
*Approach the person slowly and from the front.
3. Look for physical causes:
*Check for pain, illness or constipation. These can cause frustration and anger.
*Have a doctor check for problems with vision or hearing that may cause confusion.
*Some medications can cause anxiety, hallucination or paranoia.
* Find out if medication may decrease symptoms.
4. Avoid Confusion:
*Limit choices that cause confusion.
*Avoid situations with a lot of noise, activity and people.
*Do the same things at the same time each day.
5. Plan for quiet times:
*Make sure the person is getting enough sleep.
*Alternate quiet times with other activities.
*Try listening to soft music or reading aloud.
6. Reduce Stress:
*Notice if the person is acting lost, confused or frightened. Calmly reassure him or her.
* Take a break if you are feeling angry or frustrated. The person may react to your mood.
*Plan stressful activities such as bathing for when the person is relaxed.
*Allow plenty of time for all activities and give clear, step-by-step directions.
*Try a daily walk to reduce stress.
*Provide soothing objects such as stuffed animals.
7. Assess Danger:
*Make sure the person cannot hurt him or herself.
*Try moving five steps back from the person to defuse the anger.
*Avoid holding or restraining the person. This may make the situation worse.
*If possible, avoid an upsetting situation or lead the person away from it.
*Try to distract the person with a favorite food or activity.
8. Keep yourself safe:
*If the person is violent, make sure you are safe. If necessary, stay out of reach or leave the room to avoid getting hurt.
*Call friends, family, neighbors or your doctor for help.
*If violent episodes are repeated, make an emergency plan to keep you and the person safe.
*If you feel unsafe or threatened, call 911 or your local emergency number.
9. Evaluate Episodes:
*After a violent episode, do not remind or blame the person. He or she may have forgotten what happened.
*Look at what caused the problem. See if there is any way to avoid the situation in the future.
*Remember that by responding calmly, you can sometimes help avoid outbursts.
10. Create a calm and safe home:
*Reduce clutter in the home. Provide good lighting to lessen confusion caused by shadows.
*Avoid changing living environments and caregivers when possible.
*When a change or move is necessary, include familiar objects in the new home.
*Try to make changes gradually.
**This pamphlet is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have questions or concerns, please talk with a health care provider.
This was written by Mardi Richmond for Journeyworks Publishing.
P.O. Box 8466
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
**This information was taken directly from the pamphlets provided by Journeyworks Publishing to help caregivers.
Disclaimer: I have not used the methods provided in this pamphlet and please consult with a doctor before taking any new steps in caregiving.