According to one recent report, more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older currently have Alzheimer’s disease. Recognized as the most common form of dementia among older adults, Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly reduces an individual’s memory and cognitive abilities.
If someone you love is suffering from this disease, you know how important it is to find the right fit for their dementia care. This is especially the case if your loved one is exhibiting behavior that is verbally or physically aggressive.
Today, we’re sharing what to expect from care homes for aggressive dementia patients, and how to find the best one for your family.
Understanding Dementia-Related Anger and Aggression
Before we dive into how to search for the right assisted living homes, let’s take a step back. It’s important to understand the causation behind the aggressive behavior that your loved one is displaying.
You may have noticed that the behavior occurs suddenly, without an apparent reason. Or, it may result from a situation that frustrates your loved one. In either case, their actions can be alarming and disheartening, especially if they haven’t displayed any aggressive tendencies in the past.
It’s important to realize that most of the time, these reactions are directly related to the patient’s condition. If someone with Alzheimer’s has suddenly become aggressive, there are a few situations that might be contributing to it.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes.
Aggressive patients often lash out because it’s difficult for them to express that they’re in the throes of physical pain. As their cognitive function begins to decline, they might be able to feel that something is hurting them, but they lack the means to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong.
If you think this might be the case, consider what might be ailing your loved one. Are they tired from a lack of adequate rest? Could they be hungry or thirsty?
It’s not always possible to tell what they need, or what could be wrong. Sometimes, their symptoms could be a side effect of the medication they’re taking, especially if they’re on multiple prescriptions at once. This is why it’s important to find a physician who can guide you through the various aspects of dementia care, answering your questions and concerns as they arise.
Other times, Alzheimer’s patients may become suddenly angered if they’re experiencing communication issues. They might find it difficult to understand what you’re saying or have a hard time expressing their own desires.
One way to prevent miscommunication is to make sure your statements are as clear as possible and easy to understand. It can also help to space out your questions or comments to allow the patient time to process what you’re saying.
Finally, Alzheimer’s-related aggression can also stem from the patient’s environment or surroundings. For example, if there are a lot of noises at once, or their living space is cluttered, it can make them feel overwhelmed. In addition, they can also feel over-stimulated if they are around a large group of people, especially ones they don’t know.
If you need to make an appointment or schedule activities for your loved one, consider if they seem to function better during a certain time of day. If so, try to keep their periods of stimulation contained to that timeline.
How to Respond to Aggressive Behavior
It can be difficult to know how to respond when someone you love acts aggressively toward you. You may wonder if you did anything wrong, or if responding at all may exacerbate their reaction.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that can help calm every situation, there are certain steps you can take to ease your loved one’s mind and help them return to a more calm and peaceful state.
First, try to understand the immediate cause behind their behavior. Was there anything that just happened that could have set the patient off and made them angry? If the patient seems to be in pain, call their physician to understand the source.
Once you’ve ruled out pain, remember to keep emotions top of mind. Instead of focusing on the specific details of the patient’s behavior, seek to understand the feelings behind their words or actions. This can help you respond in a more sympathetic, understanding way.
You may find it helpful to redirect the patient’s attention away from the situation at hand. This might mean leading them to a relaxing activity, such as listening to music. Sometimes, simply moving out of the environment can quell an aggressive response.
Finding Care Homes for Aggressive Dementia Patients
There may come a time when your loved one is no longer able to live on their own. Alzheimer’s disease can affect every part of their daily life, making even the simplest tasks, such as getting dressed, difficult or impossible to complete.
When this is the case, a dementia care home can be a beacon of relief and respite. The facilities are staffed with medical professionals who know how to care for your loved one around the clock. From help with everyday routines to targeted healthcare solutions, these teams can provide a wide range of personalized services.
A care home can help your loved one live their senior years in a brighter and more fulfilling way. While all of these resources are designed to meet a resident’s assisted living needs, homes that are set up to care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients operate a little differently.
If you’re considering such a facility for your loved one, let’s take a look at what you can expect.
Dementia Care Services
There are special considerations that care homes must keep in mind when caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This includes precautions designed to keep the patients and those around them as safe and cared for as possible.
At Royal Garden Board and Care Homes, we have myriad parameters in place to help our residents with Alzheimer’s live comfortably. This includes features such as:
- Secured perimeters
- Specially trained, 24-hour staff
- Special activities designed specifically around their needs
The goal of any care home should be to make sure all patients are secure and supported. Alzheimer’s patients require a different level of care than residents who do not suffer from memory issues, and it’s important to choose a home that meets those needs.
How to Choose the Right Care Home
As you begin researching assisted living homes for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, you might feel a little overwhelmed. This is a monumental decision and one that will have a far-reaching impact on the people you care about the most.
As such, it’s important to take your time and not rush into it. Let’s take a look at a few of the steps to take as you begin checking out your local options.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to find a reputable dementia care home near you is to start with your friends, family members, and colleagues. Ask them if they’ve ever been in this situation, or if they have any facilities they would personally recommend.
You can also expand your search by taking it online. Ask your social media circle, or ask for feedback using a tool such as Facebook recommendations. This can be a great way to hear directly from people who live in your region.
Once you have a short list of reliable location options, check out the web presence of each recommended facility. Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate? Does it look professional?
A website is also a great place to learn more about the different types of services that a care home offers. As you browse their different pages, look for reviews from past clients. While each family’s experience will be unique, this is a great way to gauge how the process will go and the level of care you can expect.
Research shows that 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family members. Take advantage of the free feedback at your fingertips, and use it to help direct your decision.
Conduct an Interview
Once you’ve narrowed your list of care homes down, you may want to call the front desk to learn more about the facility. Make a list of important questions you want to ask, such as:
- What are your protocols for caring for aggressive dementia patients?
- Do you have a Medical Director on-site?
- What type of medical services does your facility provide?
- Do you have RNs and LPNs on your staff?
- What type of training do your team members have?
- Are staff members specially trained to treat patients with dementia?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- Does your facility maintain individual care plans for each resident?
- Are pets allowed in the facility?
These are only a few of the questions that can help you choose a facility that’s best for your loved one. You may be able to address some of them by finding the prospective home’s FAQ page. You can find ours here for reference!
Take a Tour
Taking a tour is a great way to see a dementia care home up close. During this time, you can also speak to the staff members, ask any remaining questions you have, and get a better look at what daily life there would be like for your loved one.
Most facilities will allow the families of potential patients to schedule a complimentary tour online. Take that time to meet the team and check out the living quarters, as well as the outside facilities and the shared common areas.
Take note of the atmosphere that surrounds both the interior and exterior of the community. At Royal Garden Board and Care Homes, you’ll notice that the setting is more like a resort. There are lush gardens to walk around, quiet alcoves to rest in, and peaceful environments that will make every family visit special and memorable.
Another factor to consider when choosing a home for your loved one’s care is how close it is to you and anyone else who will be directly involved in their support. The drive should be one that you can manageably make and will not require too much coordination.
As you review different options, keep in mind that the home you select should also be near your loved one’s medical care team, including their primary care physician and a local hospital. Ask if the home offers transportation and assistance to local medical appointments. Our team is happy to provide this service upon request!
Lastly, the dementia care home that you select should be one that your loved one can comfortably afford. While minimum state hourly wages are on the rise, the assisted living community you choose should still be able to offer top-tier care at a fair and competitive rate.
In addition to the cost of residential services, you’ll also need to think about any outside care that may be necessary. At your initial interview, ask about the cost of an in-house visit for any medical services your loved one may require. At our facility, we offer insurance-covered visits by physicians, podiatrists, and other specialists.
Visit Our Retirement and Assisted Living Facilities
As a concerned and caring family member, you naturally want what’s best for your loved one. Alzheimer’s disease can be a difficult diagnosis to journey through, especially if it causes periods of aggressive behavior.
When you find the right assisted living facility, you can be confident that they’re in caring, capable hands. As you begin looking for care homes for aggressive dementia patients, we welcome you to take a tour of our luxurious, comfortable homes.
We’re a family-run business dedicated to taking incredible care of our senior residents and their families. Contact us today to learn more!