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How to Manage Angry Behavior in Persons Living With Dementia

July 13, 2017 in: How to Manage Angry Behavior in Persons Living With Dementia,

Dementia is one of those diseases that are highly difficult to manage and poses great challenges for the caregivers. They not only have to deal with their memory loss, but also with their behavioral issues. According to experts, the fear, sadness and confusion that patients suffering from dementia experience often result in aggressive, oppositional and even violent actions or speech.

Dealing with the difficult behaviors is equally painful, challenging and stressful for both the patient and the caregiver(s).

The Nurse Scholar for Copper Ridge Cindy Steele, who is also an RN, figured out five major reasons for the aggressive behavior and agitation in dementia patients:

  1. Cognitive Impairment
  2. Psychological Disorders
  3. Physical Problems
  4. Environment
  5. Approach of the caregiver(s)

How to Deal with Anger in Dementia Patients

Although it is not easy to remain calm and smile when a person is shouting and lashing out on you for no apparent reason, when you are dealing with a person suffering from dementia always remember that they are not doing it on purpose. Rather, think how you can make them calm down and feel better.

Here, we are highlighting some tips that can help caregivers to deal with angry behavior of dementia patients:

1.Consult the Doctor

Each dementia patient can pose behavioral challenges during different stages of the disease and there can be various reasons for that. The very first thing to do when you notice a change in the behavior of your loved one is to consult his/her doctor as it could be due to an underlying medical problem, such as pain, hallucinations, incontinence, or it could be a side effect of any medicine.

2.Understand What Triggers Their Anger

Once you know that there is no medical reason for the aggressive behavior, try to look out for other trigger(s). More often than not, there is some reason for the strange behaviors of dementia patients. It could be a change in the surroundings, routine or may be due to something a person said or did.

3.Stay Calm

This is the key to deal with a person with dementia. While it can become highly difficult at times, stay calm and never yell at the patient.

4.Do Not Try Reasoning

Logic and reasoning doesn’t work when a person is angry. Same is the case with people suffering from dementia. Do not try to convince the dementia patients when they are angry.


Talk to the patient, if possible. This is important to understand what is going through his/her mind. Also, when they are talking, listen attentively. This may not only help you figure out the reason, but will also calm them down. The explanation that dementia patients give often does not make sense, but attention is the key while communicating with an angry dementia patient otherwise they may get even more angry.

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