Addressing Aggression and Anger in a Loved One with Dementia
Over the 20 years that Summerset Assisted Living Community has worked with families to provide a Home Away from Homefor their loved ones, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve managed all types of scenarios related to aging and caregiving. While none have been easy, one of the hardest has been watching loved ones deal with the decline associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our staff is trained and experienced with all stages, so we weather the manifestations with a different view. Knowing this, we felt it’s important to focus on the unexpected aggression and anger we’ve navigated with residents with dementia. In this blog, we’d like to share a few tips on how relatives can approach this issue with their loved ones.
Understanding CausesWhen a loved one begins displaying aggression and anger, it can be due to many reasons. But, primarily it means they’re physically uncomfortable or confused by something outside their control. What does this mean? According to alz.org, these causes are due to one of the following:
- Physical Discomfort | They may be in pain, tired, thirsty or hungry. Are they experiencing side effects from a medication?
- Situational Discomfort | They may be overstimulated by environmental factors such as loud noise or big crowds. Do they need to have a set schedule for appointments and visits?
- Communication Issues | They may be confused by what you’re saying or telling them. Are you speaking to them in way that’s understandable?
Managing Aggression and AngerBy understanding causes of the aggressive and angry behavior, we can be more effective at managing the loved one’s environment to try to limit the episodes. Take a look below at options of limiting physical and situational issues.
Effective Response Strategies
- To limit physical related discomfort, pay attention to medication side effects, sleep schedules and food and fluid intake.
- To limit situation discomfort based on environmental factors, pay attention to noise, light, group sizes and time of day.
- To limit issues related to communication, be sure to speak simply, calmly and listen with understanding and patience.