Pain and physical discomfort can trigger aggressive behavior in someone with dementia. Many older adults with dementia aren’t able to clearly communicate when something is bothering them. Instead, being in pain or discomfort could cause them to act out.
The more prevalent activities include activities of daily living, inability to verbalize needs, lack of sleep, visual and hearing impairments, physical impairments, disabilities, or lack of control of bodily functions, and environmental factors may initiate combative behaviors.
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. Certain prescription medications can have negative side effects or interact with one another, causing mood swings and irritability.
A senior’s agitation can also come from discomfort from lack of sleep, side effects of medication, indescribable pain, loud noises, too much clutter, or busy environments. It’s important to remember that sometimes clients are just getting frustrated with themselves.
Aggressive Behavior by Stage of Dementia The middle stages of dementia are when anger and aggression are most likely to start occurring as symptoms, along with other worrying habits like wandering, hoarding, and compulsive behaviors that may seem unusual.
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 a calm, reassuring voice. Acknowledge the senior’s feelings and listen to what they are saying.
Dementia caregivers get impatient, annoyed, frustrated, and even angry for a variety of reasons, some of which include: Things may not be happening as you’d like or are out of your control. You’re feeling overwhelmed in your role of caregiver, or feel like you do not have enough time for other aspects of your life.
The person with dementia may have trouble remembering, reasoning, and thinking. He or she may become more emotional than usual or display signs of depression or anger. Dementia progresses in stages.
Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D. The term “sundowning” refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night. Sundowning can cause a variety of behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions.
Causes of Agitation and Aggression
Always try to see things from the person’s perspective. Think about the situations where they’ve become aggressive, and to try to find what has triggered this response. Think about what you know about the person and their life. Be aware of their beliefs and thoughts and try not to argue with them.
10 tips for dealing with aggressive behavior in dementia
Mental Triggers Confusion is one of the leading causes of anger and aggression in Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers. Confusion can be triggered by lost trains of thought, mixed up memories, or a sudden change in the environment, such as a change from one caregiver to another.
Here are 10 tips for coping when an older adult with dementia exhibits difficult behaviors.