Aggression in dementia: what to do?

The manifestation of aggression is most often unexpected. As a rule, aggression can be in old patients who take a lot of drugs to help eliminate the symptoms of dementia, as a response. Due to constant quarrels, relations between seniors and their loved ones are radically changing, the sensual connection is torn, and mutual understanding is lost. However, when the problem is worked on, it is possible to achieve positive results. In this article, we will consider how to manage aggression in people with dementia and why you should choose a service of dementia home care in Nassau County.

Types of aggressive behavior in dementia


  1. Verbal aggression.


It is expressed by the fact that the patient speaks loudly and indignantly, uses threats in his speech, and demonstrates protest.


  1. Physical aggression.


With this type of behavior, the patient, as a rule, begins to fight with relatives and can pinch, scratch, bite a loved one, or pull his hair.


The manifestation of aggression is largely due to the qualities that a person possessed even before dementia appeared. But there are also exceptions to the rule. For example, old people could be very calm before illness but later became quick-tempered. This should be remembered when deciding how to behave in case of aggression of a loved one.


Also, people with dementia can show agitation, which is commonly understood as motor restlessness, irritability, attempts to leave home, and non-standard sexual behavior.

What are the causes of aggression in dementia?


It is worth understanding why the patient begins to show aggression and what to do about it.


In such an emotional state, old people want to achieve what they want. Due to the development of dementia, physical and mental functions are reduced, but the needs do not disappear. A sick person, like a healthy person, wants a comfortable environment around him, he does not experience pain, interacts with people, feels needed, and sees the respectful attitude of those around him.


Patients with dementia do not understand how to satisfy this or that need, how to achieve what they want, and express the need for help. Their behavior is aggressive, they attract the attention of others. These signals indicate that an old person is lacking something, and he does not know how to tell others about it.


What to do with aggression? First of all, it is worth understanding the reasons for its manifestation. This will become easier if you take into account the problems that a sick person has. Among them may be:


  • physical (associated with certain diseases);
  • social (accompanied by a deterioration in relationships with other members of society);
  • psychological (manifested by contradictions in thoughts and feelings).


Let’s take a look at each position separately.

Physical needs


A sick person may feel some kind of ailment caused by an infection, a chronic disease, constipation, lack of fluids, or physical inactivity. Due to the consumption of large amounts of drugs in a person with dementia, concentration may decrease and aggression may appear, which is a side effect.


The seniors are extremely uncomfortable with heat, cold, bright lights, and noise at a time when others may not experience such inconvenience. If the patient has no choice, then aggression can also begin to manifest itself. This usually happens in situations where the patient fails to change certain events in his life. Due to the deterioration of hearing and vision, conflicts and omissions arise – an old person may misinterpret what he hears or sees.

Social problems


There are 5 social causes that lead to the emergence of aggression:


  1. The patient feels bad because he feels lonely and does not spend time with others.
  2. Discomfort can be caused by feeling isolated from talking to friends or relatives.
  3. The manifestation of boredom is often associated with the absence of exciting activities for the patient. He is not interested in anything, so the work of his senses slows down.
  4. Annoyance may be directed towards a particular loved one, or caregiver.
  5. Detachment from relatives so that they do not know about the disease. In this situation, due to questions, outbursts of anger can begin, and reproaches can turn into indignation.

Psychological factors


A person may have the erroneous impression that no one takes into account his rights. In most cases, the cause of this problem lies in a distorted perception of reality, violations of memory, and the process of data analysis. This is rarely true.


Very often, old people fail to do what they want. For this reason, they have a feeling of loneliness and emptiness. They are frustrated that they are not able to make themselves a cup of coffee or do some housework in the garden. Based on this, depressive states and mental disorders arise.

Aggression in dementia: what to do and how to respond?


The ability to ignore aggression and the ability to remain calm are not acquired instantly. It takes time, experience, and patience. However, there are some tips that will be very effective in the early stages.


  • think in advance about how to respond to the inappropriate behavior of your old relative, and then his anger will not come as a surprise to you;
  • remember that any of your emotional responses will worsen the situation, so there is no need to argue and try to prove the case, control yourself;
  • try to be friendly, demonstrate understanding of the condition in which the sick person is, and express your readiness to help him;
  • distract an old person from the reason that caused his aggression (due to the fact that a patient with dementia is not able to maintain total control over his attention, you are very likely to successfully carry out a distraction maneuver);
  • at the moment when the patient is overwhelmed with negative emotions, you should not lock him in a separate room or tie him up, this will only aggravate the situation.

Wrapping up


Caring for an old relative with dementia requires a lot of patience and attention. If you are unable to take care of your loved one properly, the best solution is to find a caregiver who knows how to improve the life of a person with dementia. Galaxy Home Care will help you find a reliable person to care for your relatives. Employees of the company have enough experience to professionally cope with even strong manifestations of aggression.


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