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Does Dementia Make You Violent

Aggressive Behaviour From People With Dementia

Dialogue on Dementia (2 of 5) Violent and aggressive behaviours

Being on the receiving end of aggression is often frightening and distressing. When this has come from a person we are trying to help, we may also feel hurt and rejected. But if the person has dementia, we need to be aware that such behaviour is unlikely to be a deliberate act of aggression in fact, it is much more likely to suggest fear or desperation.

When we realise that aggression is usually a reaction, theres good news we can do something about it.

Stage : Moderate Dementia

Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.

While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.

Possible Causes Of Death

With some diseases, you end up dying not from the disease itself, but from a complication related to the disease. This is true for dementia. Many people with dementia ultimately die from a complication of the disease. These include:

  • Pneumonia: This is one of the biggest reasons why a person with dementia dies. They ultimately develop inflamed, infected lungs, which may be filled with fluid.
  • Falls: Falling can be deadly for a senior citizen. Dementia can affect your balance and your ability to walk, so it’s not uncommon to see people with dementia struggling to stand up.
  • Choking: Some dementia patients develop a form of pneumonia where food goes down the wrong tube. During the late stages of dementia, they may have trouble swallowing.
  • Suicide: During the early stages of dementia, especially in the time immediately following a diagnosis, there may be an increased risk of suicide. Know that depression is an early sign of dementia.
  • Bedsores: Prolonged pressure on a certain part of your body can create sores. In late-stage dementia, patients can find it hard to move or get out of bed, leading to bedsores.
  • Stroke: This is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. In some cases, dementia can make the brain bleed, which increases the risk of stroke.
  • Heart Attack: Having dementia may also increase the risk of having a heart attack. As with a stroke, the patient’s heart needs to be monitored to prevent a heart attack before it happens.

How Long Until Death?

What Can I Do?

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Alzheimers Care Challenges: Handling Dementia & Anger

Handling anger is one of the biggest challenges when caring for a person whos suffering from Alzheimers or another form of dementia. While almost everybody shows some form of aggression every now and again, Alzheimers and dementia can make anger issues much worse or develop anger issues in people who previously had none. Studies show that anger issues generally worsen the more severe an Alzheimers or dementia sufferers condition becomes.

Managing anger in dementia sufferers can be difficult. It may often mean reacting against your first instincts, but proper anger and dementia strategies can make care much easier for loved ones and caregivers alike.

When Does Aggression Start In Dementia

Taking Advantage of an Elderly Person with Dementia?

Aggression usually starts in the mid-stage of dementia. This is the time when other behaviours, such as hoarding wandering, and compulsive behaviour are also prone to develop. In most types of dementia, the aggressive symptoms occur when the patient becomes more dependent with daily activities. This can create a sense of helplessness the inability to communicate and call for help can trigger anger and agitation.

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Implications For Health Policy

Recognising the growing challenges in the home care setting and appreciating home care as necessary part of the health system will be critical. The policy of shortening hospital stays and discharging patients quicker and sicker results in increasingly complex home care situations. Therefore, action is necessary regarding the growing number of persons with dementia. To ensure person-centred home care for persons with dementia, political support for further education is required as well as the adaption of insurance schedules.

Read Also: Why Do Alzheimers Patients Play With Their Feces

The Thoughtful Pause Between Stimulus And Response May Deteriorate In Dementia

In the last post, we discussed how and why frustration, depression, anxiety, and not participating in activities are common in dementia. In this article well tackle the thorny issues of apathy, irritability, agitation, aggression, combativeness, inappropriate behavior, willfulness, and sundowning.

Apathy is common in dementia. When dementia damages the front of the brain or some of its connections, apathy can result. The normal drive to plan for the future is lost. Sometimes this loss can manifest by letting house repairs go, neglecting to pay bills, or not going to the grocery store until every scrap of food in the house is gone. When more severe, the desire to do anything at all may be gone, and the individual with dementia can sit passively for hours staring at a blank wall or a television that is not turned on.

Disinhibited behavior can lead to safety issues. When your loved one has behavior problems it can be distressing, physically exhausting, and heart-breaking. Behavior problems can also lead to safety issues. Dementia may lead individuals to act precipitously without thinking of the consequences. If they are feeling angry, they could strike out with their fists or any available item, including knives, guns, and baseball bats. If they feel like getting out of the car they may do sodespite the fact that the car is moving! In later posts, well discuss ways of managing these safety issues.

Key Questions

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Dealing With Dementia Behaviors: Expert Tips For Understanding And Coping

Anger, confusion, and sadness are a few symptoms a person with dementia may experience regularly. The result of these feelings is a range of unpredictable behaviors including using poor judgment, aggression, mood swings, and repeated questioning or manipulation.

Even though you know your loved ones dementia behaviors are symptoms of a disease and not intentional, dealing with them is often emotionally and physically challenging. Learn more about typical dementia behaviors in the elderly and expert tips for managing them.

Causes Of Agitation And Aggression

Caregiver Training: Aggressive Language/Behavior | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program

Most of the time, agitation and aggression happen for a reason. When they happen, try to find the cause. If you deal with the causes, the behavior may stop. For example, the person may have:

Look for early signs of agitation or aggression. If you see the signs, you can deal with the cause before problem behaviors start. Try not to ignore the problem. Doing nothing can make things worse.

A doctor may be able to help. He or she can give the person a medical exam to find any problems that may cause agitation and aggression. Also, ask the doctor if medicine is needed to prevent or reduce agitation or aggression.

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More About Dementia And Being Mean

Understanding how dementia changes our thinking skills is the beginning of understanding why someone experiencing dementia might be mean, and how to avoid getting aggressive and combative dementia behaviors.

But this is not a simple problem, so theres more to think about. In my next article, Dementia Anger Stage, Ill explain how wethe companions of people experiencing dementiaare actually in control of their moods rather than them. This is one of the key reasons for why relationships that include dementia are different from anything weve ever experienced before.

How To Cope With Aggression And Violent Behaviour In Someone With Dementia

May 16, 2020 | Dementia News |

As dementia progresses, it can affect a persons behaviour and personality in a number of ways. During this period of lockdown these changes may be exacerbated or some cases even accelerated. Some of the most typical changes are increasing confusion and upset, while others might be a tendency to isolate themselves and shun personal interactions. For many people, one of the most troubling side-effects of dementia is aggression.

Being on the receiving end of this aggression can be upsetting and frightening. Its therefore essential that carers learn how to cope with aggression and to understand how to mitigate violent behaviour.

What causes aggressive behaviour?

Aggression isnt so much a symptom of dementia, as a reaction to it. When someone living with dementia becomes confused or upset, they may be less able to moderate their emotions and more likely to react aggressively to a situation.

Someone living with dementia might become violent or aggressive when they feel misunderstood or unheard, when they feel threatened or when they feel frustrated. Sometimes people experiencing dementia might become aggressive when theyre in pain. This is more common when the disease has made communication difficult or impossible.

How to respond to aggressive or violent behaviour

How to prevent aggressive or violent behaviour

Learn more about coping with dementia, and about the help and support thats available in your area, by exploring our site.

Recommended Reading: Senility Vs Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s

Look For The Underlying Factor

Once you have established your safety and that of the patient, you should then look at what could have triggered such violent behavior.

It is important that you try and understand what may have led the patient to suddenly become violent. Violent outbursts may be caused by:

  • Physical discomfort
  • Frustration
  • Environmental factors like loud noise

When you are able to identify the triggers, try and reduce them. Understanding the stressors will also help you avoid any future incidences of violent outbursts.

Tips To Reduce Nighttime Restlessness

What can you do when a dementia patient gets agitated?

Improve sleep hygiene. Provide a comfortable bed, reduce noise and light, and play soothing music to help your loved one get to sleep. If they prefer to sleep in a chair or on the couch, make sure they cant fall out while sleeping.

Keep a regular sleep schedule. Be consistent with the time for sleeping and keep the nighttime routine the same. For example, give the person a bath and some warm milk before bed.

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Dont Be Afraid To Ask For Alzheimer’s Support

“Knowing how to detect, defuse, and prevent anger is one of the most important skills for Alzheimers care providers, says Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels. Its one of the skills we value most in our Alzheimers caregivers.

If you find that you need support in handling a loved ones dementia or Alzheimers care, help from an Alzheimers care provider can be invaluable. To discuss your options for professional, in-home Alzheimers care, call your local Visiting Angels office today.

If you are concerned about sudden changes in your loved ones behavior or have questions about caring for your loved one, please also contact your loved ones healthcare provider for information and support.

Ways To Reduce And Manage Mean Dementia Behavior

1. Calm the situation downThe first thing to do is reduce the tension in the room.

Start by limiting the distractions in the room, like turning off the TV or asking others to leave.

And if you stay calm, theyre also more likely to calm down.

It might help you to count to 10 or even leave the room for a short time to cool down. Repeat to yourself its the disease as a reminder that theyre not intentionally doing this.

If the current activity seemed to cause the agitation, try shifting to a more pleasant, calming activity. Or, try soft music or a gentle massage.

2. Comfort and reassure while checking for causes of discomfort or fearTake a deep breath, dont argue, and use a calm, soothing voice to reassure and comfort your older adult.

It also helps to speak slowly and use short, direct sentences.

Then, check for possible causes of agitation or fear, like:

  • Feeling disturbed by strange surroundings
  • Being overwhelmed by complicated tasks
  • Frustration because of the inability to communicate

It also helps to focus on their emotions rather than their specific words or actions. Look for the feelings behind what theyre doing as a way to identify the cause.

3. Keep track of and avoid possible triggersWhenever difficult behavior comes up, write down what happened, the time, and the date in a dedicated notebook.

Also think about what was going on just before the behavior started and write that down as a possible trigger.

Taking some time away can help both of you.

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Tips To Ease Alzheimers Aggression

Once you understand the triggers for Alzheimerâs aggression, you can take steps to prevent it. A few things to try:

  • Think ahead of time if a situation might make your loved one uncomfortable, overstimulated, or confused.
  • Donât ask too many questions at once, give instructions that are too complex, or criticize. That way, youâre less likely to confuse and upset the person you are caring for.
  • Limit the amount of loud noises, activity, and clutter around them.
  • Donât argue. People with Alzheimerâs disease see a different reality than you do. Rather than challenge them about it, sit and listen. Ask questions about it.
  • Focus on the past. Alzheimerâs affects short-term memory, so itâs often easier and less stressful for someone to recall and talk about distant memories than what they watched on TV the night before.
  • Use memory cues. As the disease gets worse, remembering when and how to do everyday tasks like brushing teeth or getting dressed gets harder. Reminder notes around the house can help prevent frustration.
  • Tips For Dealing With Aggressive Behavior In Dementia

    Aggressive Behavior in People with Dementia | Linda Ercoli, PhD | UCLAMDChat

    1. Be prepared with realistic expectationsReminding yourself that challenging behavior and aggressive outbursts are normal symptoms of dementia helps you respond in a calm and supportive way.

    Knowing that these episodes are a common part of the disease reduces your shock and surprise when it does happen and may also make it a little easier to not take the behavior personally.

    2. Try to identify the immediate cause or triggerThink about what happened just before the aggressive outburst started. Something like fear, frustration, or pain might have triggered it.

    For example, your older adult might start yelling at empty areas of the room and telling people to get out. Looking around, you might notice that the room is starting to get darker because its early evening. The dim light causes shadowing in the corners of the room, making it seem like there are people in the corner.

    After identifying that potential trigger, turn on the lights to get rid of the shadowy corners. That will hopefully help you older adult calm down. And, in the future youll know to turn on the lights before the room gets too dim.

    In another example, you could have unintentionally approached your older adult from behind and startled them. In a sensitive moment, that could make them feel attacked and so they lash out in what they perceive as self-defense.

    3. Rule out pain as the cause of the behaviorPain and physical discomfort can trigger aggressive behavior in someone with dementia.

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    What To Do If You Think They Might Hurt Someone

    Here are some things you can do to help keep everyone safe:

    • Keep dangerous things like guns, knives, glass, and sharp or heavy objects out of the house or locked away.
    • Try to distract them by going for a walk, having a snack, playing music they like, or asking them to help you with something.
    • If you canât calm them, give them space.
    • Don’t hold the person back, unless you must to keep everyone safe. Holding them back could hurt you or them, and could make them angrier.
    • If you must hold them back, get help from someone else, if possible. Ask someone nearby, like a neighbor, to be ready to help if needed.

    Once your loved one is calm, check for bruises or cuts, and treat them if needed.

    If this happens often, itâs a good idea to ask a doctor or counselor for guidance or tips, or get support from others. Your local Area Agency on Aging or Alzheimer’s Association chapter for caregiver groups might be able to help.

    Care Options For Aggression In Dementia

    Caregiving to dementia patients requires a lot of effort, time, and patience. Depending on the stage of dementia, these patients exhibit different symptoms which are managed accordingly. In the mid-to-late course of the disease when the patient starts showing aggression, caregiving becomes challenging. At this point, both the patient and family can suffer a lot. At Hometouch, we believe in empathy and compassion. The different care options for aggression in dementia are:

    Live in Care for Dementia Aggression:

    In this, a professional caregiver resides with a dementia patient in their own home. This option is more feasible for the aggression experienced by dementia sufferers. One of the causes of aggravation of dementia symptoms is unfamiliar surroundings and people. The inability to recognise the location and unfamiliar faces increases confusion in patients and ultimately worsens symptoms. When a live in carer resides with the dementia patient, matters can often settled down.

    At Hometouch, our professional caregivers for dementia are experts in providing round the clock care. They help the patient with their daily tasks, provide companionship, takes them to social gatherings and doctor’s appointments. They are also trained to manage anger, agitation, and aggression in dementia.

    Care homes for aggressive dementia patients:

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