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Tips for Aggressive Dementia Behaviour

Tips for Aggressive Dementia Behaviour

New Age Care News

Tips for Aggressive Dementia Behaviour

Some people with dementia develop aggression as the condition progresses. The person may not have exhibited these tendencies before so it can come as quite a shock for those around them.

In a few cases it may be attributed to the dementia but in most cases there is another underlying cause such as pain, frustration, fear or the environment. It’s important to remember that their behaviour is a result of the condition and the damage that is occurring in the brain and not personal.

Types of aggressive behaviour

Aggression in dementia patients can take two forms, physical and verbal. Below are some examples of each type of aggression.

Physical – throwing things, hitting, scratching, biting, kicking and pulling hair
Verbal – shouting, screaming, swearing and making threats

Tips for dealing with aggressive behaviour

Aggressive dementia behaviour can be upsetting and difficult to deal with, especially if it’s from someone you love. Here are a few tips that may help you de-escalate the situation and hopefully reduce the chances of it occurring again:

Stay calm

It’s really important that when someone with dementia gets aggressive that you stay calm. If you get upset too, then this is more likely to lead to an escalation of the situation. Take a few deep breaths and try to speak to the person in a calm and soothing voice.

Identify the cause

Often aggressive behaviour is triggered by frustration or fear, so try to identify the cause of the behaviour so you can take action to alleviate it. What happened just before the person got aggressive? Can you make changes to stop this happening again?

Pain

Pain can be one of the triggers for aggressive dementia behaviour. If they are unable to communicate that they are in pain then they may lash out. Check if the person needs any medication, needs to go to the toilet or are not in an uncomfortable position.

Create a calm environment

Busy and noisy environments can also trigger aggressive behaviour in people with dementia. Observe the surroundings and if possible take action to calm the situation. If there are lots of people around, can you ask people to leave the room? If it’s noisy can you turn down the TV or music?

Validate their feelings

Often aggressive dementia behaviour comes from the person not being able to express their feelings. Try to understand how they are feeling even if you can’t decipher why. Then try to reassure them that their feelings are valid and that you are there to help.

Change activities

If an activity is causing frustration and leading to anger, give them the opportunity to vent for a short period then gently change the focus to another activity, preferably one you know they enjoy.

Play music

Music can be a real mood changer. Try playing the person with dementia’s favourite tune or music. You could also try soothing or relaxing music to try to create a calm environment.

Remove yourself

If nothing is working to calm the person down then removing yourself from the room may be the best option. This will hopefully diffuse the situation and give them and you some space to calm down. Ensure that the environment is safe before taking this course of action. If the aggression continues you may need to get extra support.

Further Information & Support

New Age Care Blogs

Tips for Supporting someone with Dementia

The lowdown on Dementia and how to recognise the early symptoms

Alzheimer’s Society

More info Here

Dementia Friends

More info here

Age UK

More info here

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