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Alzheimer's Disease and Aggression

How to Manage Aggression in Alzheimer's Disease

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Updated March 04, 2008

Aggression in Alzheimer's disease can take the form of shouting, cornering, raising a hand to someone, or actually pushing or hitting. Unfortunately, aggression among people with Alzheimer's can occur suddenly and seemingly without warning. It's very important to try to identify what triggered the aggression so that the antecedent can be eliminated or modified. Focus on your loved one's feelings and react in a calm, reassuring way. Be sure that all distractions, such as loud noises or potentially frightening shadows or movements, are reduced as much as possible. Redirecting your relative to a pleasant activity can be remarkably effective.

Sources:

Behaviors: What causes dementia-related behavior like aggression, and how to respond. Alzheimer's Association. 2005. http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_behaviors.pdf

Mace, N. L., & Rabins, P. V. (2006). The 36-hour day: A family guide to caring for people with Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, and memory loss in later life (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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