SETX Hospice and Mallory Ramirez Allstate presents Caregiving Today: How to handle combativeness

Published 6:12 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

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Dear Caregiver Today– I am caring for my father and he is becoming combative and I am concerned it will become abusive in nature. Can you give me some tips on how to help him?

Thank you for your help signed Concerned Daughter.

Dear Concerned Daughter,

This is not an easy thing to handle.  The best thing to do in many cases is don’t show anger, fear, alarm or anxiety, even if you feel it.  Showing these emotions could increase the senior’s agitation and escalate the situation.  Speak using calm, reassuring voice. Always try to acknowledge their feelings and listen to what they are saying.  Seniors throw temper tantrums for a whole host of reasons. Often, it’s a result of the personality changes brought on by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. … You can contact your loved one’s doctor and inquire about medications to help with anxiety and new dementia behaviors like severe emotional outbursts. It’s important to seek support and help if you are dealing with these type behaviors so that neither the patient nor the caregiver get physically hurt or become burnout and unable to provide care as needed.  As a hospice team we help families and patients with these challenges often.

 This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent medical guidance. To submit a question send it to