Aggression / anger verbal

Aggression / anger verbal

Verbal abuse is more common than physical aggression. The person may shout, curse or make accusations or threats etc. The person may become verbally aggressive because of frustration or because they misunderstand what is going on. Sometimes it can be because of physical pain, or overstimulation by loud noises, overactive environment or physical clutter. Anger and aggression can be very upsetting and quite a shock for you. The anger may be the only way the person is able to express something. The person may get angry at having to ask you to do something that they could have previously managed to do alone. It’s difficult to remain calm and not take the anger personally. It’s also difficult to accept that the person you know is changing as a consequence of the disease. Think about what triggered off an angry response so you can try to avoid it in the future. Sometimes it is possible to work out what might have caused the anger, and sometimes it is quite impossible to know. If the reaction is caused by the person not being able to manage to do something, try to adapt the task and provide assistance.

Don’t intervene unnecessarily

or exaggerate the importance of things. The person with dementia might do something which seems a little strange or not do something properly. If it’s not strictly necessary, don’t correct the person. It could just result in the person with dementia becoming angry.

Rephrase what you say.

The person with dementia might misinterpret helpful instructions. Try phrasing what you say differently. For example, instead of saying, “Now put your pants on”, you could say, “Here are your pants. Let me help you put them on”

Distract their attention

if they remain angry. For example, you could suggest having a drink together, going somewhere or doing something that the person likes.Stay calm and avoid any potential for confrontation. A heated response may make the situation worse. Maintain eye contact and try to explain calmly why you are there. Encourage communication.

Don’t show any fear, alarm or anxiety.

If you look like you are afraid, the person might get even more agitated.

Don’t shout back or initiate physical contact.

An agitated response from you might be misinterpreted as threatening behaviour. Give the person time and space to cool down and don’t restrain the person unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Reassure the person and acknowledge their feelings.

Listen to what they are saying. This shows that you are not against them and that you want to help.

Don’t take the behaviour personally.

Even if it’s difficult, try to remember that it’s the disease and not the persons feelings against you.

Leave and try again later.

If possible, take a time out and try again later.

  • Try to consider what triggerede the response
  • Try not to intervene unnecessarily or exaggerate the importance of things
  • Rephrase what you said
  • Try to distract the person
  • Remain cam nd reassuring
  • Acknowledge their feelings
  • Try not to show any fear, alarm or anxiety
  • Try not to shout back or initiate physical contact
  • Try not to take the behaviour personally
  • Leave and try again later

Welcome to the Alzheimer Europe website. We are a non-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) aiming to provide a voice to people with dementia and their carers, make dementia a European priority, promote a rights-based approach to dementia, support dementia research and strengthen the European d…

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Alzheimer Society of Canada

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