Dealing with Aggression in Seniors with Alzheimer’s

According to a factsheet published by the NIA-National Institute on Aging, a commission of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It is also the most common underlying factor that contributes to dementia in the senior population.

If you’re one of the many who have senior loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s, as trained and experienced professionals in the field of assisted living, we understand how hard this can be. We also understand that there are times when it can be a challenge to care for those we love due to the nature of their illness.

Aggression, Alzheimer’s and How to Deal With It

Senior loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s may become, cranky, irritable and even aggressive at times. There are a number of reasons why this is so. These include difficulty communicating feelings like pain, discomfort or hunger.

It can also be due to other reasons such as environmental factors. These include crowded or noisy environments, over stimulating smells or simply feeling lost in their own surroundings.

In any case, if your loved one is struggling in such a manner, here are some things you should implement.

Explore the Cause

Look into possible reasons for your loved one to be behaving angry or reactive. Was it to do with the food they were served? Did it coincide with an unexpected visit by friends or family? Did they hurt themselves? Are they in pain or discomfort? Pain and discomfort in many cases in the prime cause of aggression in patients suffering dementia. The sooner you identify the cause, the sooner and better you can address the aggression.

Feeling Focused

You might sometimes be tempted to get very heady and fact oriented when exploring the cause of your loved ones aggression. Try not to do this. Give their emotions and feelings tangible weight and significance. Do not ignore how they feel because at times, it is the simplest of emotional communication which is all they may be able to manage.


No matter how much love we have for someone, caring for an aggressive loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s is a challenging task. We may sometimes get flustered or frustrated. Try to check this as much as you can. Stay calm, be patient and don’t get angry. It’s a struggle for them too.

Relax Them or Shift Focus

If possible, try to do something that you know relaxes them or calms them down. Basically try to shift focus from the point of frustration to something less jarring or negative for them.

Pull Back

Remember as a caregiver, taking care of yourself is important too. If the aggressive behavior escalates or doesn’t seem to diminish, pull back, take a break and let someone else take over. At times, if the senior loved one in question is becoming a threat to themselves, you or others around, calling 911 and seeking professional support is highly recommended.

Are There Alternatives?

If you feel that it would be safer and better for your senior loved one to have easier and quicker access to professional care but need a pleasant and positive environment for them, you have options.

Assisted living facilities for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s requiring added care such as ours are geared to provide your loved ones with a healing environment. This includes a community to interact with and care as well as health professionals on call 24/7.

If you’re located in Calabasas, CA and Alzheimer’s memory care and senior living homes, apartments and a community your loved one will thrive in, connect with us now!