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Caring for a Belligerent, Aggressive or Angry Alzheimer's Patient
Source: The Care Guide
People with dementia sometimes behave in ways that other people find puzzling
or difficult to handle. Much of their behavior is an attempt to communicate what
they want or how they are feeling.
The following are some ideas about
caring for an aggressive Alzheimer's patient. Consider each idea independently
of the others.
- Don’t confront the person or try to discuss the angry
behavior. The person with dementia cannot reflect on their unacceptable
behavior and cannot learn to control it.
- Do not initiate physical contact during the angry outburst.
Often, physical contact triggers physical violence in the patient.
- Provide the person with a “time-out” away from you. Let
them have space to be angry by themselves. Withdraw in the direction of a safe
- Distract the person to a more pleasurable topic or
- Look for patterns in the aggression. Consider factors such
as privacy, independence, boredom, pain, or fatigue. Avoid those activities or
topics that anger the person. To help find any patterns, you might keep a log of
when the aggressive episodes occur.
- If the person gets angry when tasks are too difficult for them,
break down tasks into smaller pieces.
- Minimize stress and novelty.
- Maintain calm within yourself. Getting anxious or upset in
response may escalate the aggressiveness.
- Let the person play out the aggression. Just be sure that
you are safe and that they are safe themselves.
- Get help from others during the activities that anger the
- Don’t take the aggressiveness personally.
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