Coping with Alzheimer's Angry and Aggressive Behavior

My grandpa has dementia.  We have all been making changes and educating ourselves on what to expect and how to handle situations that have already started to surface. I found the following tips very useful when he gets aggressive, angry, impatient, or frustrated. 

Before getting to the tips, it's important to understand why such behavioral ups and downs come about.  The episodes might happen unexpectedly and for no reason. No matter how tough it gets, always remember that a person with Alzheimer's or Dementia does not act the way they do on purpose.

The episodes might be triggered by factors such as physical pain or discomfort, lack of communication skills due to the condition as well, and environmental factors among others.

So, having said this, keep in mind the following tips.  I'm sure they will help you cope with the aggressive and angry behaviors of your loved one.

1.  Identifying the cause of the behavior. 

Ask yourself what happened right before the anger or aggression was triggered.  If it's possible make sure necessary changes are made to avoid the same detonator.

2.  Make sure it is not pain.

You need to be completely and totally sure your loved one is not going through any pain.

3. It's feelings that matter

There will be feelings and emotions behind your loved one's words or actions. Be sensitive enough to know what they are.

4. NEVER get upset at your care-receiver

As a caregiver you must be patient, loving, positive, and comforting. Speak in a soft tone, never raise your voice.

5. Relaxation methods may work

Try relaxation music and massages. Exercise may also help both of you calm down.

6. Deviate

Perhaps the specific action or activity that was taking place triggered the behavior. Deviate the focus and attention to another activity.

7. Watch out for dangerous situations

Make sure there is nothing around that the person can use to hurt themselves or hurt you.

8.  Never use any restraining device or force

This might scare them and make them even more aggressive.  Unless the situation gets out of control to the point where it is life threatening for either of the two, do not restrain them.

9. Talk to others for support

There are endless resources or support groups out there.  A great example of this is the #AlzChat via twitter that will get you in the conversation with people who are going through similar situations and caregiving specialists that will help you cope with the difficulties. 

Related Read: Alzheimer’s and dementia ...Don’t Lose Your Mind