What to Do When a Senior with Dementia Gets Mean

There’s no doubt that dementia changes the way an older adult behaves.
For some seniors, dementia can cause aggression. Your once sweet great aunt who never had an unkind word to say may suddenly begin yelling obscenities and hurling insults at her caregivers. Aggression is a challenging behavior because it can be very hard to hear someone you love to say mean things about you. However, there are ways you can manage the behavior, perhaps even preventing it. Below are some tips for handling aggression in seniors with dementia.


Homecare in Gulf Shores AL: Senior with Dementia

Homecare in Gulf Shores AL: Senior with Dementia


Remember Aggression is a Symptom and Not Personal

As hard as it is to listen to insults from someone you love, try to maintain your composure and remember that what they say is not personal. Dementia changes the way the brain works. Your aging relative cannot help the behavior and does not mean what they say.


Look for the Cause

When aggression occurs, think about what was going on right before the behavior occurred. This can help you identify the cause of the behavior and remedy the situation, thus stopping the episode. Perhaps you were asking the senior to do something that is too complicated for them, so they became frustrated. Or, they may not have eaten for a while and are hungry but don’t know how to ask for food. Taking care of physical needs is often the key to resolving aggression.


Give the Senior Some Time

If the older adult becomes aggressive when you’re trying to get them to do something, take a step back and give them some time before trying again. Sometimes just waiting for fifteen minutes gives the older adult time to calm down and the next time you ask them to do something, they’ll easily comply.


Do Something Relaxing

Try to calm the older adult by doing a calming, relaxing activity. Turn on some soothing music. Offer them a favorite snack. Switch to an activity they enjoy, like making crafts or doing puzzles. If they have a pet and spending time with it calms them, encourages them to interact with the pet. NOTE: Supervise the activity to prevent the older adult from taking their aggression out on the animal.

An elder care provider can help with managing aggression as well. Elder care providers are experienced in working with older adults who have all kinds of conditions, including dementia. They are adept at keeping their cool when aggression occurs and can make certain the senior stays safe throughout the episode. Elder care providers can also offer meaningful activities throughout the day to prevent boredom, which may reduce aggression.


If you or someone you know needs Homecare in Gulf Shores, AL, please contact the friendly caregivers at  Hughes Home Care. We provide quality and affordable care for your elderly loved ones in our community. Call Us Today 251-517-9901.  Serving Mobile & Baldwin County.