5 Tips On Dealing With Violent Alzheimer's Behavior

“Alzheimer’s patients are often vulnerable and fragile, but in rare cases, they can become the aggressor. About 5% to 10% of Alzheimer’s patients exhibit violent behavior. It’s unclear why the outbursts occur in certain patients,” according to a recent article by CNN iReport.

Have you faced any of the following challenges?

  • What to do when your elderly loved one becomes agitated, aggressive, and violent when asked to do tasks such as bathe, brush teeth, or change clothes?
  • Your elderly Alzheimer’s patient is making no sense, and when you try to correct him, he becomes angry and seems abusive?
  • Every afternoon or evening, your elderly dementia patient becomes aggressive or turns on you with anger or violence?
  • Your loved one’s threatening behavior sometimes places you or the patient at risk for injuries?

Here are five strategies that may be helpful:

1. If the elder becomes agitated and threatening when you try to coax him, for example, to bathe, brush teeth, or change clothing, try again later. Alzheimer’s patients tend to lose their ability to think clearly, so when they become unreasonable, it is better to back down than force them into such activities. Try again later.

2. When the elder is upset or agitated, you might try apologizing (as a strategy), even though it’s not your fault. Arguing may worsen the situation. There is no sense in trying to “correct” a person who has lost ability to reason clearly. Don’t take verbal or attempted physical assaults on you personally. Remember, this is the disease acting, not your elderly loved one.

3. Try to distract the elder while remaining calm. Talk about things he or she enjoys. A calm and loving voice, demeanor and subtext may be louder to the elder’s mind and perception than the content of the discussion.

4. Have the elder rest or nap, especially in late afternoon. Late in the day if the elder becomes tired, irritable, and confused, agitation and aggressiveness may occur. This is the classic “sundown syndrome.”

5. If you or the elder are at risk for injuries, call 911. The presence of a uniformed officer may calm the elder and be reassuring to you for the safety of the occasion. If the situation is not an emergency, you may wish to call the Alzheimer’s Association non-emergency 24-hour hotline: 1-800-272-3900.

Read more at CNN iReport » When Alzheimer’s turns violent by Madison Park


And see the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on How to Deal with Difficult Elderly Behavior, and on Alzheimer’s/ Dementia.


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