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Retired dentist Dr. Richard Edelstein is one of about 5.3 million Americans currently stricken with Alzheimer’s disease, though his is a special case of sorts. Living with his wife Phyllis in their Long Island home, Dr. Edelstein’s dementia gradually progressed to something far more disturbing in specific terms.

Mrs. Edelstein started to notice that her husband was becoming more negative about a lot of things, even routine ones. There was also a time when he tried to strike his caregiver, and when he lunged towards the TV as if he wanted to beat up the bad guy in a show they were watching. All of these situations explicitly indicate that the patient is experiencing Alzheimer’s aggression, which is one of the toughest things to understand in dementia patients.

Such situations have prompted many families of Alzheimer’s patients to hire home health care services, like what’s offered by companies such as Homewatch CareGivers Atlanta North to residents of Alpharetta, GA. If your loved one exhibits dementia aggression, it can be tough to know whether help is needed, but understanding the entire situation may provide a clue.

First, what causes the behavior? According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Kansas, recognition was the strongest culprit—that is, patients typically lash out if they forget what something was, what’s inside something, or anything within such bounds.

The patient may also be suffering from some physical discomfort and may not find the words to properly describe it, which then causes frustration. Side effects from taking one too many medications are also probable, as well as a lack/excess of sensory stimulation from the immediate environment. Furthermore, it has also been reported that certain hallucinations or delusions are also to blame.

So how can this be dealt with? On a loved one’s part, there are various courses of action, and perhaps the best one is to try and keep the person secure, calm, and comfortable, and maintaining a basic household routine to eliminate confusion. In the heat of the moment, family members should always stay calm and avoid arguing with the patient.

As a final resort, it doesn’t hurt to call for help. Should the behaviors come all too often or during specific daily activities (i.e. bathing or dressing), a good amount of third-party assistance will do. It helps to consider (or at least stay open-minded about) hiring professional home care from in or around Alpharetta to give you a reliable fallback option.


When Aggression Follows Dementia, The New York Times, July 12, 2013


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