How To Prevent Aggression in a Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
Keep the Person Comfortable. Make sure the person is dry (if he or she wears adult sanitary products) and is neither hungry nor thirsty. People with alzheimer’s may forget to eat.
• Maintain a Household Routine. Ideally, sleep and meals happen in a predictable way every day. Ideally, the person with alzheimer’s gets fresh air (weather permitting) every day.
• Keep a Written Log. Document what was happening just before violent outbursts. You may soon see a pattern and you’ll know how to better prepare yourself.
• Prepare the Person for Triggers the Best You Can. Keep your tone calm and upbeat. Tell them an upcoming change in their mood or
temperament is likely to occur, but that everything will be okay.
• Try to Stay Calm. Don’t fght back or raise your voice. Even cues that you’re nervous might get picked up by someone with alzheimer’s.
• Stay Safe. Obviously you don’t want your loved one to fall or hurt themself, but your own safety needs to be paramount. step back if the person is out of control, rather than stepping in to restrain or overpower.
• Don't Argue. strive to avoid escalating the behavior, not to get your way or prove yourself right.
• Resist the Temptation to Punish. Cause and effect is beyond the cognition of someone with serious dementia. Issuing consequences (no snack, a lecture) will only make the person more upset.
• Distract. Try breaking the mood by stopping and starting again in 15 minutes. Change to a new activity, or even just move to a new room. If bathing
has gotten off on the wrong foot, for example, switch to something you know your loved one enjoys – listening to music, having a snack. Then get back to the bath later, taking care to eliminate or soften the trigger if you can.
• Self-Soothe in healthy ways. after a troubling incident, take time for yourself. Call a friend or reach out to an online alzheimer’s forum. Do not isolate yourself physically from others (a common practice, since caregivers grow afraid to have others see their loved one “this way”). As a final resort, ask the doctor about
medication. nobody likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but sometimes, in serious situations, prescription medications (ranging from antidepressants to antipsychotics) are used to curb physical aggression.