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4 Ways To Redirect A Senior With Alzheimer’s That Is Upset

Alzheimer's Home Care in Cranford NJ
Alzheimer's Home Care in Cranford NJ

One of the hardest situations for a family caregiver is when their senior parent with Alzheimer’s is upset or angry. Trying to redirect them so that they are no longer belligerent or upset is difficult and the situation can be upsetting or even scary. If your senior parent is much larger than you are and they are angry and think you have somehow wronged them caregivers may be afraid for their own safety. But the key to managing this kind of situation is staying calm. You may need to try to redirect them more than once. These redirecting tips from experienced Alzheimer’s home care providers can help:

Don’t Say No

While it might sometimes seem that your senior loved one is acting childish they are not children. Even though your senior parent’s brain isn’t working the way it should it’s not a child’s brain. So the techniques that would work on a child won’t work on a senior with Alzheimer’s. Saying no to something that they want to do, like going outside, isn’t going to defuse the situation. It will probably make it worse because hearing no will just make your senior loved one more upset.

Try To Identify The Real Need They Are Expressing

When seniors who have Alzheimer’s become scared, weepy, or angry they usually some need that is not being met. They can’t express that need in words to you so they are acting out because they are uncomfortable in some way and don’t know how to express that. Imagine how difficult it must be to be tired, or hungry, or thirsty, or scared and be unable to know what to do about that. Often if you can identify the need that they have that isn’t being met you can stop the behavior.

Look for non-verbal cues that might indicate what’s wrong. For example, your senior parent might cough frequently or touch their throat if they are thirsty. Or if they are pacing around the room or opening all the doors they could be looking for a bathroom. If you can identify the need that will often make them calm down. Alzheimer’s care is very effective for seniors because qualified caregivers know what signs to look for to indicate what need a senior has when they are upset.

Take A Time Out

If you’re getting frustrated or upset at the behavior that your senior parent is exhibiting you should take a quick time out. Go outside or to another room and take a few deep breaths. Count to ten. And keep breathing deeply until you feel calm enough to go back in and tackle the situation from another angle.

Change Rooms

Changing the environment that your senior parent is in can also quickly change their mood or behavior. For example, if your senior parent is convinced they need to go somewhere and you can’t redirect them take them into the bedroom and tell them to pick a coat they want to wear to go wherever they think they need to go. By being in the bedroom and being faced with having to pick a coat you are changing the focus of their attention. They will probably not feel like they need to go outside anywhere by the time they have picked a coat.


If you or an aging loved one is considering Alzheimer’s home care in Cranford, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Adult Alternative Home Care today. (888) 664-1769

Lorraine Arkaifie, MSN, AGPCNP-BC
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