Summary: The causes of aggressive behavior in dementia patients can be controlled by applying several measures.
Patients who suffer from dementia often go through several changes as the condition advances, one such change includes aggressive behavior. Dementia aggression often manifests itself in numerous ways including verbal abuse, physical abuse, and property damage.
As a nurse when you take care of someone suffering from dementia, it is important to watch out for aggressive behaviors. You should identify the causes of such actions while coming with solutions to dealing with them. You can take mental health support worker training to learn how to care for them.
Causes of Responsive Behavior in Dementia Patients
Several reasons might cause aggressive behaviors in dementia patients as they go through different life situations. Dementia patients are affected differently, as they also respond to situations in their way. There are behavioral changes that occur as a result of brain activity while others due to environmental triggers. The following are some of the causes of aggression in dementia patients.
A dementia patient suffering from a health problem or physical well being can become aggressive at the slightest feeling. Such agitation can result from:
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Discomforts such as pain, aches, and fever
- Side effects of medications
- Poor control over behavior due to changes in the brain
A patient who has been moved from one place of residence to another, such as moving them to a care facility, can be overwhelmed. The feeling might be that of confusion as they are unfamiliar with the new environment. The confusion, coupled with anxiety, can manifest aggressive behavior.
Pride and Being on the Defensive
As the brain of dementia patients continue to change with the progression of the brain, they are still aware of such changes. This is especially common during the early stages of the disease as they feel overwhelmed and in denial. Failure to be able to perform regular tasks such as bathing or dressing up can leave them feeling devastated and often irritated, resulting in aggression.
Defeat and Confusion
A patient suffering from dementia can sometimes feel defeated. This can be due to the fact that they can no longer depend fully on themselves hence the feeling of failure. This is a source of aggression, as this might be their way of trying to fight the negative feeling.
Confusion is a common symptom experienced by dementia patients. As the condition worsens, the patient experiences a hard time grasping things. They also have difficulty communicating hence causing agitation.
How to Cope With Aggressive Behaviors
It is essential to consult with a doctor about the behavior of the dementia patient because there might be other underlying factors. It would be best if you considered the following to minimize triggering aggressive behavior:
- Avoid provoking them
- Ensure that they are comfortable
- Minimize stressful situations
- Have a consistent routine
- Avoid changing the environment of the patient
- Encourage enough exercise activities
What to Do When Aggression Occurs
You can start by distracting the patient by turning their attention to another thing. Another way to control aggression is by communicating with the patient to reassure them that the situation is under control. Family support is always encouraged as this calms down the patient by making them feel comfortable and protected.