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HomeHealthWhy Do Dementia Patients Get So Angry

Why Do Dementia Patients Get So Angry

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Dementia

Dementia and Anger Outbursts (3 Mistakes That You’re Making)

Studies suggest that, on average, someone will live around ten years following a dementia diagnosis. However, this can vary significantly between individuals, some people living for more than twenty years, so its important to try not to focus on the figures and to make the very most of the time left.

Body Languagestop And Face Them

Next, we have to think about posture. When someone lacks memory skills, it changes how they interpret gesture and posture. Suppose Im making sandwiches for lunch and my husband walks into the kitchen and asks what Im doing. If he isnt experiencing dementia, I dont need to stop and turn around to face him. I can simply direct a brief answer over my shoulder, because if hes not experiencing dementia our previous conversations and exchanges will be there in his mind to temper my lack of attention during this moment.

However, if hes experiencing dementia, he will by default interpret my posture as dismissive, because for him its our first interaction and for him my posture will speak louder than my words. So, if my husband is experiencing dementia I need to pause and turn to look at himand make eye contactto avoid inadvertently hurting his feelings.

When Your Loved One With Dementia Lashes Out

As Moms Alzheimers disease progresses, the family are sometimes shocked by her behavior. Formerly the most gentle and calm of women, Mom has been making angry accusations and yelling at family members, even young grandchildren. Last week she threw a clock on the floor because she couldnt read the time.

People who have never had a loved one with Alzheimers disease or other dementia often think that surely the most distressing effect of the disease would be forgetfulness. But in reality, these diseases cause personality changes that can be far more challenging than memory loss. The kindest, most patient elder may become aggressive and angry.

Its important to keep in mind that a person with dementia has no control over these personality changes. These are symptoms caused by the disease. Yet that doesnt mean that nothing can be done to improve the situation.

A recent study from Penn State University analyzed studies on aggression and other common behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia . Study author Prof. Ann Kolanowski said, We need to learn more about the factors precipitating these symptoms, so we can design approaches and interventions that will reduce them. Not only for the benefit of the person suffering from dementia, but also the caregivers.

Here are tips from experts to help reduce and cope with aggressive behavior from a loved one with dementia:

Learn some skills. Here are some practical tips from the National Institute on Aging:

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How To Manage Repeated Questions And Confusion

Asking questions over and over again, as well as not being able to understand why things are happening are symptoms and behaviors that come with dementia, according to the American Psychological Association.

  • Communicate with simple, direct language.
  • Use photos and other tangible items as props to explain situations.
  • Remain calm and supportive.
  • Use tools such as alarms, calendars, and to-do lists to help them remember tasks.


  • Rely on lengthy explanations and reasoning, as this may further overwhelm your family member.

Take Care Of Yourself

Why Dementia Patients Get So Angry?

Although caregiving may make it difficult to find time for yourself, it is important to eat well, exercise, get a good nightʼs sleep, and attend to your own medical needs.

When you do not take care of yourself, you are prone to increased anxiety, depression, frustration, and physical distress that will make it more difficult to continue providing care.

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Mood Transferenceour Mood Becomes Their Mood

Think about this: If someone experiencing dementia cannot change their own moods, what happens when a caregiver arrives looking worried or concerned, or someone walks into the room in a bad mood? What happens is mood transference, because we need memory and rational thinking skills to protect ourselves from other peoples moodsand without those skills we can only absorb their moods and feel bad too.

Why Do I Get So Angry With My Elderly Mother

Dementia caregivers get impatient, annoyed, frustrated, and even angry for a variety of reasons, some of which include: Things may not be happening as youd like or are out of your control. Youre feeling overwhelmed in your role of caregiver, or feel like you do not have enough time for other aspects of your life.

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Do Not Take It Personally

Caretaking for people with dementia carries a lot of emotional and mental weight with it. If anger and aggression outbursts do occur, it is important that you, as the caregiver, do not take it personally.

These fits often come from sources that are completely unrelated to you as the caregiver. Yet, it is important for you to remember that these attacks are not coming from a place of maliciousness.

As a caregiver, it is also important to be forgiving of yourself and build in plenty of me time. Self-care and looking after your own health physical, mental, and emotional is just as important. Your loved one will be able to sense your own distress and emotions as well.

Understand Why Someone With Dementia Says Mean Things

Why does a Person w/ Dementia Get So ANGRY and MEAN TO ME? || The “Why” Series

First, its important to understand why this hurtful behavior is happening.

Dementia is a brain disease that causes parts of the brain to shrink and lose their function, resulting in cognitive impairment.

These different parts control functions like memory, personality, behavior, and speech. Dementia also damages the ability to control impulses, which means actions arent intentional.

Even though its difficult, do your best to remember that they truly dont intend the mean things they say.

These mean comments and hurtful accusations often happen because the person is unable to express whats actually bothering them.

It could be triggered by something in their environment that causes discomfort, pain, fear, anxiety, helplessness, confusion, or frustration.

Working to accept the fact that theyre not doing this on purpose helps reduce stress and makes their behavior easier to manage.

The overall strategy is to take a deep breath, remind yourself that its not personal, take care of immediate discomfort or fear, and try to find the cause behind the behavior.

Next, look for long-term solutions that will help you get the support and rest you need to keep your cool in challenging situations like these.

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Determine If It Is Possible To Alleviate The Issue

In certain circumstances, you may identify certain situations as resolvable. If you notice the person is expressing discomfort or distress, try to think about what happened right before the event to help identify the source of their anger, which may be causing them to feel sad or afraid.

It is important not to debate or explain, as someone suffering from dementia will have little context to use their reason but rather try to reorient and reassure them as much as possible to resolve the issue. If you are able to alleviate the issue, this can stop an issue from becoming worse, curbing the persons anger and aggression early.

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Take Time To Cool Off

If none of these techniques worked while we were home, I just backed off, disappeared to another room, and waited for it to blow over. Thats when the mystery of fluctuating dementia symptoms became shockingly clear, because my father usually had no recollection whatsoever of these cursing episodes. Afterwards, he was adamant that he never said such nasty things to me!

In a way, I must admit these antics were funny at times. When Dad would deny hed had an outburst, suddenly Moms memory would be perfect and shed repeat whatever hed said earlier verbatim! It is so important to remember that, when all else fails in dementia care, you just need to let yourself have a good laugh!

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Causes Of Agitation And Aggression

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.

What Are The Signs Of End Stage Dementia

Why does a Person w/ Dementia Get So ANGRY and MEAN TO ME ...

Experts suggest that signs of the final stage of Alzheimers disease include some of the following:Being unable to move around on ones own.Being unable to speak or make oneself understood.Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care.Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing.May 6, 2021

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Losing The Ability To Understand Why Someone Is Frowning

When we are experiencing dementia, we dont suddenly arrive in a dementia anger stage. We simply get hurt and angry often because we cant use memory or reasoning to consider the reasons for why someone might do something or say something to us. When we can no longer understand why, we take everything personally. We cant help it. So if our companions dont understand what we cannot doand understand how to help uswe all end up dealing with a lot of meanness and anger.

The first reason for why people whore experiencing dementia often get angry and mean is that they have lost the ability to consider why other people say or do what they do.

The second reason is because they have become unable to change their own moods.

Think again about the cognitive skills we all have and use daily: we have memory skills that allow us to search for and retrieve memories. We have rational thinking skills that allow us to see cause and effect, follow a sequence, and prioritize actions and ideasessentially, the skills that let us perceive relationships between facts, such as what, where, how, when and especially why.

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.

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Determining The Cause Of The Behavior

Taking the time to listen and assess the situation can help pinpoint the source of anxiety and intent of the behavior. Is there a pattern to the behavior? Has anything changed in the patient’s health, environment, treatment plan, or daily routine?

Ask these kinds of questions when determining the cause of violent behavior and remember: Don’t take it personally. It may seem like the dementia patient is attacking you, but really they are anxious and you happen to be around.

When behavioral disturbances occur, give the person space you may need to leave the room until you’re both calm, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Showing your anxiety may make the dementia patient more agitated, so make sure you can approach them calmly. Tell the person you can see they’re upset.

How To Help With Poor Judgment

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

The deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimers disease can lead to poor judgment and errors in thinking. Some of these symptoms are obvious and apparent, such as hoarding household items, accusing a family member of stealing, or forgetting how to do routine tasks.

Some signs are more subtle, making it difficult for your aging loved one to realize theyre struggling. If youre curious and dont want to ask, take a look at a heating bill, suggests Mariotto. Sometimes payments are delinquent, or bills arent being paid at all.

Its important to minimize frustration and embarrassment for dementia patients, so know what works for your loved one and incorporate it into your caregiving strategy.

  • Listen and offer subtle help.
  • Work together to fix the problem.
  • Simplify a task or routine by breaking it down into smaller steps.

This is what Napoletan did for her mother: As I sifted through records to complete her tax return, I gently mentioned noticing a couple of overdraft fees and asked if the bank had perhaps made a mistake. As we talked through it, she volunteered that she was having more and more difficulty keeping things straight, and knew she had made some errors. She asked if I would mind helping with the checkbook going forward. I remember her being so relieved after we talked about it. From there, over time, Napoletan was gradually able to gain more control over her mothers finances.


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Understanding Why Someone With Dementia Is Being Mean

Does dementia cause meanness or is something else going on? The short answer is that most of us dont really understand which cognitive skills dementia takes away. More importantly, we do not realize which skills are not lost. And so we inadvertently embarrass people and unintentionally belittle or frustrate them without realizing what weve done. We then find ourselves on the receiving end of a verbal or physical blow with no idea what went wrong, and their response seems unwarranted or crazy.

But think about how you feel when someone you loveor someone you expect kindness fromstarts doing things that make you feel bad. None of us behave well when we feel that were being taken advantage of, made fun of, or picked on. When that happens, we feel indignant and angry and usually tell the other person why. Anger, aggression, frustration, and just plain meanness result when we feel that were not being treated fairly or respectfullyespecially if it happens over and over again with people whom we are close to or expect better from.

This doesnt change when we begin to experience dementia. What changes is the skills we have available to work with. Dementia takes away skills weve been using our entire lives. And even if our companions love us dearly, their attempts to help us often make us feel worse.

Refusing To Accept Outside Caregivers

It is an important milestone when family caregivers decide to hire in-home care for their loved ones, but this plan is often derailed when seniors refuse to let the new caregivers into their homes. Other elders will welcome home health aides in only long enough to tell them that they are fired!

Coping With Elders Refusing Care

The presence of an outsider suggests to the elder that their family cant take care of them. It also magnifies the extent of their needs and makes them feel vulnerable. Work to understand your loved ones reasons for resisting in-home care, which could include fear, embarrassment, resentment or some mix of the three. Talk to them about their feelings and work together to find solutions that everyone can live with. For example, if Mom hates the thought of letting a stranger into her home, arrange for her to meet the professional caregiver at the home care companys office or at a café for coffee first.

Ask your loved one to simply give home care a try on a temporary basis. Instead of immediately introducing full days of hands-on care, it may help to have a home health aide come in for one day a week to do light housekeeping and meal preparation for a few hours. Experienced home care companies know how to handle situations like this, so dont hesitate to ask for their advice. Once the senior gets used to having someone in the house and establishes trust with a caregiver, they will be more comfortable with accepting additional help.


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Causes Of Anger And Aggression In People Who Suffer From Dementia

Like with anyone, anger and aggression can surface from an abundance of sources. Our reasons for getting angry or upset may differ greatly from one another, but there are certainly some underlying themes and patterns. In people who suffer from dementia, there are three major triggers or causes of anger and aggression.

Why Is My Husband Mad All The Time

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For example, the loss of a friend or loved one, change in or loss of a job, or changes in his physical health are common causes of many angry husbands. Any of these things can cause stress, which affects mood and behavior. These factors can contribute to having an angry husband to deal with more often than not.

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Why Is Mom Always Angry With Me

We all get angry now and then. We can be angry at a person, like a friend whose chronic tardiness makes us late for a movie. We can be angry at a thing, like an unreliable car that breaks down again and again. We can be angry at ourselves for not sticking to a diet and our resolution to lose 10 pounds before summer!

Persons living with Alzheimers disease and the other dementias have good days and bad days, too. Yet the memory loss and confusion associated with dementia can trigger bouts of anger that can be distressing to a loved one simply trying to do his or her best.

Some days Mom is so sweet and appreciative, but other days she is angry at me and even hits out, says Jean P., one caregiver who feels frustrated by her mothers dementia. Triggers like trying to get her into the shower are easy to understand, but sometimes her dark mood seems to come out of nowhere. Why doesnt she know Im doing my best?

Anger is a form of communication, says Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate Home Instead®, an international provider of Alzheimers in home care services. The person with dementia may not be able to tell us what they want or need. Anger is one way for them to release their frustration and emotion.

When youre facing a loved one whos unexpectedly angry, try following these steps:


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