dementia aggression

Supporting Your Loved Ones with Dementia-Related Anger and Aggression

Anger and aggression are common dementia-related behaviors that family members and caregivers find challenging to manage. The first step in coping with this behavior is understanding that the person is not acting intentionally. The next step is to determine what is causing the behavior.

We understand that consistently staying positive while addressing unwelcoming and aggressive behaviors can be overwhelming. But we’ve got you covered. Here are some pointers on how to identify potential triggers.

What Can Trigger an Outburst?

Aggressive conduct in people with dementia gets triggered by four factors: emotional, social, physical, and environmental:

Emotions like boredom, loneliness, stress, upsetting news, and embarrassment can make them aggressive.
Social factors include the inability to communicate, difficulty accepting change, and lack of social interaction.
Physical pain, hunger, or thirst can cause rage and discomfort.
Environmental triggers include poorly lit areas, crowded or cluttered rooms, or an unfamiliar situation that can make an older adult anxious and jumpy.

In many instances, your loved one’s reaction to a situation may seem inappropriate or overly dramatic. Be assured it is perfectly normal for you as a caregiver to feel at a loss when managing or addressing your loved one’s reactions. It is by no means a failure on your part. Remember, caring for someone does not exclude keeping track of your well-being.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities, know that asking for help from your family or an experienced caregiving service is an effective way to manage your health without disrupting your ailing loved one’s schedule.

Now that you know of some potential triggers, let’s look at some simple actions you can take to manage the outbursts.

10 Tips for Creating a Positive Environment

Recognize and respect your loved one’s emotions.
Investigate the source of their rage. It may only sometimes be apparent and may require a bit of patience on your part to figure out.
Accept responsibility and apologize to alleviate the issue.
Assure them that you are there for them.
Maintain your composure and talk in a calm, comforting tone.
Allow them time to answer, and don’t rush them.
Bring them out for a change of scenery (maybe a walk in the neighborhood park).
Allow them time to adjust to the change.
Give them warm hugs or a pat on the back.
Seek professional advice from a healthcare provider if you notice extreme behavioral changes.

How Affinity Senior Care Can Help

Our experienced and empathetic caregivers can assist you or your loved ones with everyday activities such as light housekeeping, transportation to and from appointments, mobility, medication reminders, eating (including meal preparation), exercise, and personal care (grooming and bathing).

Our caregivers can support you in managing the changing needs of a family member. For more information on our services or to schedule a free home assessment, you can reach us at 248.657.7674 or write to us at