Education and Care - Coping with Anger and Aggression

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Dementia affects the parts of the brain that control mood and behavior. An individual can become anxious and fearful, which often manifest as anger and aggression.

Possible problems:
  • Seek a doctor's advice to determine if there is a medical cause, or if medications are causing adverse side effects.
  • Limit outside noise, clutter or the number of persons in a room.
  • Keep to the same routines.
  • Reduce caffeine intake.
  • Restrict choices to minimize confusion. Do not ask, "What would you like for lunch-soup or a sandwich?" Instead, say, "Here's some soup."
  • Keep objects and furniture in the same places.
  • Help orient the confused person with calendars and clocks.
  • Dot the environment with familiar objects and photographs to provide a sense of security and promote pleasant memories.
  • Try gentle touch, soothing music, reading or walks.
  • Speak in a reassuring voice.
  • Distract the person with a snack or an activity.
  • Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.
  • Do not try to restrain the person during a catastrophic reaction.
  • Keep dangerous objects out of reach.
  • If agitation increases at night, a nightlight may reduce confusion.
  • In severe cases, doctors can prescribe medication to calm an individual.
  • Acknowledge the person's anger over the loss of control in their life.

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