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How To Respond To Anger And Aggression In Dementia

How to Respond to Anger and Aggression in Dementia

Dementia patients suffering from memory loss and other cognitive difficulties can usually express their feelings more directly than most people with clear thinking. This is because they cannot filter or process their thoughts through normal society’s rules of etiquette.

Some dementia patients may get angry, which can be caused by frustration, fear, anxiety, stress, etc.

Why Do Dementia Patients Get Angry

Anger is a common reaction to dementia. Whether it be due to frustration with memory loss or not being able to do activities that were previously accessible, they are found angry and aggressive.

But why do people with dementia seem angrier than others? Is there anything that caregivers can do about the anger that dementia brings upon patients?

To understand why people with dementia act this way, you must first understand what dementia is.

What is Dementia

Dementias are brain conditions that cause trouble with mental abilities such as memory, language skills, thinking, and judgment. It is most often seen in people over 65 years old, but some dementia can affect people younger.

There are many different Dementia types such as Alzheimer’s Dementia, Dementia due to another medical condition (i.e., Liver failure), Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Frontotemporal Dementia (FT), and Vascular Dementia (VD).

It is common for Dementias to cause patients difficulty in their daily lives, especially when it comes to memory and reasoning. This can often lead to anger and, in some cases, aggression.

For example, in a study done by Dr. Jamie Dowling and his team at the University of Sydney, they used two groups of people with dementia. One group had behaviors such as agitation, aggressiveness, and outward hostility, while the control group did not display such behaviors.

The Dementia patients were found to have reduced levels of serotonin in their brains when compared to the control group. It has been shown that Dementias, such as Alzheimer’s Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia, both cause reduced Serotonin levels. This means it is likely that dementia-related aggression is partly caused by a lack of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain which regulates emotions and moods, so low levels can lead to irritability and anger.

There are many other causes of dementia-related anger, such as frustration due to memory loss and dopamine problems. Furthermore, anger festers out of not being able to do past hobbies and patients not understanding how they act. 

Although dementia causes dopamine problems which can lead to anger, people with dementia can learn ways to cope with their emotions more effectively. This may involve learning about specific dementia types, how to deal with memory loss, medication changes (if applicable), and working on any dopamine issues people with dementia may have.

If you or someone you know has dementia and is struggling with anger, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a medical health care provider. This type of behavior can become dangerous if not treated properly, so make sure it gets noticed as possible!

6 Common Causes of Aggression on People With Dementia

Dementia, in short, is a syndrome that presents with an individual having deficits across multiple cognitive domains. However, dementia can have many presentations due to its common contributing factors, mainly vascular, for example, stroke and Parkinson’s disease being among the top origins of dementia. With this in mind, it is understandable that dementia might also present with behavioral changes in aggression or agitation.

Aggression has always been seen as a sign marking mental illness towards others. Still, the question is, when does aggressiveness become “Dangerous” towards home healthcare providers who are tasked to care for patients with dementia? The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) defines dangerous aggression based on physical harm toward home health care providers. Home health care providers should be able to manage such situations accordingly.

The following are six common reasons why people with dementia might become aggressive:

1. Loss of Control

The most common cause of anger is losing control over one’s surroundings. This could occur because healthcare clients are hungry, thirsty, tired, or even feeling unwell. At times clients may not communicate their need for assistance;  caregivers can help by checking in on home care clients frequently.

2. Being Scared

Another common cause of aggression among people with dementia is fear. Sometimes patients can become angry if they feel like they are being threatened. Home healthcare professionals should explain the procedures that will be carried out before performing them to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings that could lead to an aggressive outburst.

3. Physical Pain

People with dementia might also lash out due to pain caused by arthritis, bedsores, or other conditions, which professional aides can help relieve by keeping their clients comfortable and changing them promptly.

4. Loss of Ability

For instance, clients cannot do things for themselves, such as opening a window or turning on a light switch. Caregivers can help by performing these small tasks for their clients. However, home health aides must ask before taking action and allow clients to maintain some sense of autonomy at all times.

5. Mental Confusion

Dementia patients might also become aggressive when they cannot process new information and answer questions correctly. Professionals should be patient with their clients and take cues if they ever need to move on to a new home.

6. Loss of Social Skills

Caregivers can also experience friction with healthcare clients who have lost the social skills they once had; caregivers should be understanding and patient at all times, especially when dealing with these types of situations. However, suppose home healthcare professionals feel their client’s behavior is becoming increasingly aggressive. In that case, it may be time to seek additional support to ensure everyone involved remains safe.

8 Tips For Coping Mechanism

As home health care providers, you should identify the triggers for this behavior and respond accordingly. You can help dementia patients cope with these feelings by applying appropriate coping mechanisms.

1. Keep Things Simple Sometimes

People with dementia might feel confused or anxious at their home in Miami; caregivers can try to minimize these feelings by keeping things simple and organized at all times. For example, professionals can use different-colored tape on uniforms to avoid getting mixed up if their clients have trouble remembering their names.

2. Use Distractions

Caregivers notice a behavior change in a client; they should ask them what is wrong and talk about how they feel using clear words the person will understand. Once home health care workers know what triggers certain behaviors, it is easier to distract patients with essential activities that will calm them and provide personal assistants with a sense of purpose.

3. Try Different Strategies 

Caregivers should try different strategies if their first attempts to soothe clients fail, as everyone will have unique needs and triggers. For example, workers might consider giving patients snacks or drinks before bedtime as a means of distracting them from anxiety about sleeping alone in unfamiliar surroundings.

4. Monitor the Situation 

Professionals should monitor the situation carefully when trying different acting techniques because not all aides may work for every client. For example, some people with dementia might respond positively to humor. In contrast, others may prefer facts and figures when they feel anxious. Home caregivers can learn from these situations and adjust accordingly.

5. Be a Good Listener

Being a good listener is extremely important. Workers should treat clients with the same dignity and respect they would accord to others since everyone deserves to be heard. If aides do this, even people with advanced dementia will feel comfortable sharing their feelings and opening up about what they are experiencing.

6. Have Flexible Schedules

When it comes to performing daily tasks such as taking medications or assisting with toileting, it might be necessary for assistants to have flexible schedules to accommodate the needs of people who have dementia who may not always want assistance when expected. Caregivers can also offer choices like taking over 15 minutes before bedtime to help them feel in control of their home care routine.

7. Allow People With Dementia To Take the Lead

Caregivers might develop creative ways to make tasks easier on everyone involved, for example, coming up with a new way to brush their teeth or finding shoes that are easy to put on and take off. As long as the patients remain safe and secure, according to their expertise and knowledge.

8. Address Reality When It Is Appropriate  

People with dementia need providers to help them face reality and accept their loved ones’ illnesses. However, home caregivers should also remember that patients are still human beings who deserve respect and dignity at all times.

Choosing The Right In-Home Caregiver

Many people find themselves in a situation at some point in their lives. Maybe they have a family member who has trouble with age-related memory issues and needs round-the-clock home care, or perhaps they need to hire a caregiver for a loved one with dementia.

These can be difficult situations involving essential life decisions on both the epic scale of your parent’s life, as well as many little moments of figuring out what kind of provider will be best suited for your circumstances. In all cases, you’ll want to consider these tips for choosing home healthcare providers:

Be clear about your needs. While it might seem obvious, it’s easy to get caught up in finding workers who can help you with activities of daily living like dressing, eating, and bathing. But caregivers might also provide companionship to people with dementia to reduce the risk of stress-related behavior problems.

Consider your home’s culture when choosing home healthcare providers. Suppose you have a large family that shares holidays or religious traditions that are important to you. In that case, workers should understand this sort of lifestyle before taking on work with their families. Hence, no one feels left out or uncomfortable due to differing beliefs about homecare.

Be open-minded about what kind of caregiver relationship will work for your situation. Maybe it makes sense for someone close to workers like a niece or a friend to take aide jobs regularly, or perhaps you need someone with extensive experience and knowledge in this field.

Be emotionally prepared for dealing with people with dementia. Going through the process of hiring home care workers is difficult enough without trying to do it when overwhelmed by intense feelings like guilt, anger, sadness, and fear. It’s common to go through these emotions while making arrangements; however, not all families will choose this path for their loved ones. 

Determine home health care costs. Costs can vary depending on where you live, the worker’s location, and the number of people that need care at once. Browse local caregiver services or ask workers for an estimate to start your search early on during this process. People with dementia are often vulnerable to being taken advantage of financially because they have trouble making sound decisions about home healthcare agencies. This means it’s up to everyone involved to protect them from scams and fraudulent behavior by choosing efficient home caregivers that fulfill their patients’ needs.


Because people with dementia are often unable to make sound decisions about the best home healthcare providers, it’s up to everyone involved to protect them from scams and fraud. To find a good-fit caregiver for your loved one, consider being clear about your needs, open-minded about what kind of relationship will work best, and emotionally prepared for dealing with people who have dementia. 

Finally, determine costs and potential 24/7 home healthcare agency fees before getting started to ensure that you’ll be able to afford quality services for your loved one. If you are interested in home health care in Miami then contact us. This company is ready to deliver the best caregivers for home care in Miami.  

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