Things to Know about the Combative Stage of Alzheimer’s

By 8  am on

Alzheimer’s disease moves through a progression of stages marked by the severity and types of symptoms seniors experience. In the early stages of the disease, you may hardly notice some of the changes your senior loved one goes through. However, things can quickly take a turn once your loved one enters the combative stage. Learning more about this stage helps you assist your loved one with symptom management while preserving your relationship.

Combative Behavior Begins Around the Middle Stages

The symptoms that occur with Alzheimer’s disease can vary in severity from one person to another. While it isn’t easy to predict when combative behavior will start to occur, most caregivers find that it happens around the middle stages of the disease. This is a time of rapid changes in the brain, and personality changes may occur due to the diminished ability to process emotions efficiently. Eventually, most people’s behavior begins to settle down by the later stages of the disease. 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 elder care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

You Can Get Seriously Injured

Your loved one may be small and barely able to harm a fly. However, seniors who exhibit combative behavior can display surprising strength. Your loved one may throw objects that could break or cause you to experience a severe injury.  If your loved one becomes physically violent, don’t engage. Try to get to a safe place where he or she cannot hurt you but you can still supervise from afar. For instance, you may need to move into a separate room where you can hear when your loved one calms down.

Fighting Back Makes Things Worse

Your loved one may start the combative behavior by yelling or refusing to do things you ask. If possible, take this as a sign to back off. For instance, you might be able to put off bath time until your loved one is calmer.  In some cases, you may need to call for backup. A professional caregiver can step in to help your loved one with things that may not be able to wait, such as taking medication or going to the restroom. Sometimes, a new face can shift a senior’s mindset. Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Des Moines Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Some Behaviors Are Preventable

Combative behavior isn’t your fault, but it does help to know it can sometimes be kept at a lower level or even prevented. Watch for patterns in your loved one’s behavior so you can make changes to his or her daily routine as needed. For instance, your loved one may need to do calmer activities in the evening if the combative behavior is associated with sundowning.

Your Loved One Still Cares about You

As hard as this stage is, try to remember your loved one isn’t in control of the behavior. Your loved one’s actions don’t reflect how he or she feels about you. Try to view the behavior as symptoms of the disease. Your loved one still cares about you, and it’s important to seek counseling if you feel his or her behavior is beginning to affect your wellbeing as a caregiver.  Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Des Moines Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation