How Do You Calm Down an Angry Person with Dementia?

As a caregiver, we commonly ask ourselves: how do you calm down an angry person with dementia?

This is because it is normal for some persons with dementia to develop aggressive behaviors which can be physical or verbal as the condition becomes worse.

It can occur as a result of a frustrating situation. Even completely out of the blue.

When this happens, there are SEVERAL WAYS that we can use to calm down an angry person who has dementia.

Best Ways To Calm Down an Angry Person With Dementia

Trying to Identify the Cause

One of the best ways to deal with an angry person is to try and figure out what has triggered the mood swing.

Numerous factors can cause this type of reaction.

This can include physical discomfort which can be as a result of medical conditions, lack of enough sleep or rest, hunger, thirst, or side effects caused by medications a person is taking.

Environmental factors such as feelings of being lost or overstimulation can also evoke anger in a person who is affected by the illness.

Identifying the CAUSE of the behavior helps you to rectify it fast to ensure that the person with dementia is as comfortable as possible.

For instance, if the individual is hungry or thirsty giving them a drink and food can help correct the problem.

Become a “Yes” Person

how do you calm down an angry person with dementia
When a caregiver finds themselves in a situation dealing with an angry person with dementia, it can help to say “yes” as much as possible.

If the affected person mentions that they have been seeing people who passed away, do not start arguing telling them that it is IMPOSSIBLE.

Instead, you can calmly point out that it would be great to see them again.

You can even build on this and ask questions like what they would talk about. This is bound to develop a sense of COMFORT and CONNECTION with one another.

It is because “yes” is considered an affirming and powerful word. It also lets the affected person know that their carer is listening.

Seek Expert Help

seek expert help
If a caregiver is not in a position to calm down an angry person with dementia, it may be helpful to seek professional help.

This can help out especially if the affected person is in pain and they cannot communicate effectively.

This is also helpful if anger stems from medication side effects. Doctors can change the medication a person is taking in a bid to reduce their SUFFERING.

If it is not possible to take the individual to the hospital, there may be no other option than to call 911.

When you make the call DO NOT FORGET to tell the responder that the person acting aggressively has dementia.

Do Not Get Upset

When dealing with anger, caregivers should focus on feelings and not facts.

Consider the EMOTIONS of the affected persons by identifying feelings behind actions or words.

This should be done in a reassuring and positive manner.

Always speak to the person in a soft tone and take care not to get upset as well.

Remember to remain RESPECTFUL and EMPATHETIC at all times.

Shift Focus

shift focus
Where possible, try and slowly introduce relaxing activities that will DISTRACT the person from their angry feelings.

It can be anything from a massage, music, or exercise that can help soothe the individual.

This will offer a welcome distraction that can help calm down the affected individual.

Take a Breather

There are times when it may not be possible to immediately calm down an angry person with dementia.

At this point, the only choice available may be to walk away for some time.

Just make sure that the person who has dementia is safe.

Giving the person some space and time can help manage feelings of anger especially if they feel like their personal space has been invaded.

This can be challenging for all of us, but it’s necessary.

Closing Thoughts

It may not be easy to look after a person who has dementia especially if they lash out without reason.

However, it is IMPORTANT to understand that the ill person behaves the way they do because of the illness.

Finding ways to calm the person can help make the situation better for everyone.

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