What to Do When Alzheimer’s Patients Hit?
It is unfortunate that most Alzheimer’s patients curse, hit, grab, kick, throw things, scratch, scream, bite and make strange noises. Half of the people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s show some of these behaviors. Sometimes the hitting can get so bad that the patient has to be put in a nursing home.
The reason behind the behavior is not just the patient losing their memory but because they also develop delusions and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Patients To Hit?
Recognition. This is the greatest predictor. When patients forget what something was or what was inside something, they will most likely exhibit aggressive behavior like hitting someone
Side effects from anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Ativan and BuSpar. Headaches, constipation and nausea from some of these drugs can cause patients to act out especially if they cannot communicate their discomfort from those symptoms.
How To Respond To A Patient Hits
Find Out Where Such Behavior Is Coming From
In order to effectively manage the behavior of Alzheimer’s patients, it is important to find out what triggered the behavior. Besides that, it is also important to know what hitting means. Are they scared, hungry or thirsty? Are they reacting to something uncomfortable in the environment? When a patient strikes a person, it is often because of their distress even from remembering their past memories. Hitting could be a result of frustration since simple memories are fading away.
It may be difficult to know exactly what caused their lashing out. But it is necessary if you want to avoid any future instances of hitting. With time, you will be able to see patterns know what the triggers are, and eventually be able to avoid the common triggers that cause them to be angry. Most Alzheimer’s patients are not aware they have the disease or that anything is even wrong with them.
Ignore The Angry Behavior
It is definitely not easy to get hit and ignore because there will be some pain and hurt. But an Alzheimer’s patient will hit you one minute and forget what they did in the next minute. So when they hit you, ignore. Secondly, make sure they are unlikely to harm themselves. Finally, stay clear of them until they calm down. Don’t allow the situation to get out of control or even more violent.
The most important thing is to make sure that the patient calms down and does not continue hitting. Music is an effective way of calming them down. You can sing their old favorite song to calm them down instantly. You don’t have to sing. You can choose to play a song from their old collection.
Look For Support
There are other families and individuals who have Alzheimer’s patients who hit and have had their own share of experiences. Talk to them and ask them for help and advice on how to go about such situations. When it gets too bad and you cannot continue living with the person because they are a danger to themselves and to others, try finding a good home care agency that can help.
You should be comforted that the hitting will eventually stop. The aggression is only a phase and the behavior will subside with time. Only remember not to take it personally when you are hit. It is really not about you.