7 Ways to Cope with Dementia Aggression

dealing with dementia aggression

What exactly is it about dementia that causes aggressive behaviour? Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects a person biologically in which some parts of the brain shrink and it gets progressively difficult for the person affected to remember things. They lose the faculty of thought and communication. They also lose the ability to take care of themselves. Dementia aggression patients may be caused by fear, anxiety, an inability to communicate with others and confusion. To provide dementia home care, caregivers need to be well equipped.

Sometimes your elderly loved one with dementia will act out and say hurtful things to you.This may also escalate to verbal and physical abuse. Our lifestyle changes as we grow older with dementia. Here are some tips to cope with aggression caused by dementia.

    1. Try to understand the source of aggression. You must understand that when a dementia patient says hurtful things, they don’t really mean it. Some discomfort in their bodies or minds may make them act aggressively. Don’t take it personally or to heart. Remember it is not that they are lashing out against. It is the disease that is making them do so.


    1. Speak in a low, soft tone. If you are calm, they will eventually calm down. Fear and anxiety can be unsettling, especially for someone who is having trouble understanding the loss of their autonomy. They may become defensive because their pride is hurt. Don’t confront them. Don’t accuse them. Try to placate them with love and understanding.


    1. Reassure them by letting them know that you are there to listen if they want to say something. If something is causing confusion in their minds, clarify the issue. Talk to them. Engage with them. This way they will be reassured that they are not going to go unheard.


    1. When a dementia patient acts aggressively, distract them with something else. Divert their attention to another physical activity. This might help in diffusing the situation for the time being.


    1. Don’t focus on the aggression. Try to focus instead on the source of aggression. There may be a physical ailment or some environmental factor that is causing the patient to act out. Try to find the source that triggered the aggressive behaviour and try and eliminate it. This will put a stop to the aggressive behaviour temporarily.


    1. Set a routine for the dementia patient to follow. Although dementia affects memory, routine activities stay in the brain longer. So, if your loved one was used to reading the paper while sipping their morning tea, try not to change the routine. This will prevent confusion and keep aggressive behaviour in check.


    1. Always consult a physician about aggressive behaviour. The physician will help figure out if there is a physical ailment that is causing the patient discomfort which in its turn is causing aggression. The same goes for psychiatric concerns or side effects of medicine.



Dementia is a difficult disease for the sufferer and the caregiver. Dementia home care can be tough on caregivers. We always believe personal experiences in a case like this can help people around us who might be going through the same problems. Tell us about your experiences with aggression in a dementia patient and how you coped with it.


For further details, visit us at www.tribecacare.com
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