Approaches to Agitation & Aggression with Dementia

Approaches to Agitation & Aggression with Dementia

Tips from Our Care Team to Determine the Cause & Solution

During late stages of dementia, a person may experience agitation that can be caused by anything from a reaction to medication to a change in caregivers or environment.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, possible causes of agitation in someone with dementia include:

  • Moving to a new residence or nursing home
  • Changes in environment, such as travel, hospitalization, or the presence of houseguests
  • Changes in caregiver arrangements
  • Misperceived threats
  • Fear and fatigue resulting from trying to make sense out of a confusing world
  • Different medical conditions
  • Medication interactions

When symptoms of agitation appear in someone with dementia, get them in for a medical checkup. It is important to eliminate any treatable medical reason as the cause of their agitation. Once the sources are better understood, measures can be taken to reduce the behaviour.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that caregivers and loved ones of people with dementia maintain a calm and relatively quiet environment to prevent or reduce agitation. Also, check on the personal comfort of this individual: Are they hungry? Thirsty? Tired?

People with dementia may go from agitated to aggressive toward those around them when the source of agitation is not addressed. In this way, the causes of aggression are the same as agitation and, therefore, the checklist for alleviating this symptom is similar.

Furthermore, do a self-check on your own communication with this person. If you are stressed and irritable, the person with dementia may be picking up on that. If you are asking too many questions or repeating the same statement, this can cause aggression. Any instructions you give should be simple and easy to understand. It may be important to use pictures to convey your message as the disease progresses; for example, if it is lunchtime, showing a picture of lunch may help convey the message that it is time to eat.

Solving the mystery of what is causing agitation and aggression is the first step in reducing this symptom of dementia.

Contact our trusted caregiver agency today for more information. Homewatch CareGivers® has the experience to make a difference.