Understanding Alzheimer’s Aggression

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the brain and causes cognitive deterioration. Eventually, dementia sets in, which can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior in certain situations. There are many resources for family caregivers of individuals suffering from dementia, such as in home Alzheimer’s care in Raleigh, which provide services when family caregivers need help. These professionals have experience with the disease and know how best to manage aggressive behavior when it arises.


Isolation, lack of sleep, and loss of independence often contribute to aggression, so be mindful not only of your loved one’s well-being but also of yours as a caregiver. It may be helpful to create a caregiver action plan that outlines specific actions to take, in order to help mitigate these factors while caring for them at home. In addition, homecare professionals can offer specialized assistance without disrupting the person’s life outside of their home environment. Providing professional home healthcare has been shown to reduce behavioral problems like wandering and agitation by up to 30%.

Alzheimer's and aggressionStages and Behaviors

Alzheimer’s patients frequently become aggressive for no apparent reason. They can easily become agitated or enraged. They might yell, swear, hurl obscenities, or behave inappropriately. They might even throw objects or attempt to physically strike caregivers as a form of resistance.

It is normal for a caregiver to sometimes feel discouraged, hurt, frustrated, or even angry when a senior with dementia lashes out at them for no obvious reason. It is important to understand what causes this anger in dementia and in understanding it, sometimes helps a caregiver to better cope with the situation.

  • Give the senior space. Some outbursts may be caused as a result of their feeling that their space is being invaded and they don’t understand why.
  • Never argue. Arguing with someone with dementia never works. It only makes the person angrier and more agitated.
  • Patience is the key. If you are helping the senior with a task and they become agitated, back off for a few minutes. First, make sure that the person is safe to leave alone for a few minutes and if so, give them some time. Many times, trying the same task 15 minutes later will result in a much more pleasant situation.
  • Use distraction. Music is an excellent distraction for seniors with dementia. Try playing some of their favorite songs. Many times, it will lighten their mood and help them to become ready to accept help.
  • Consistency in caregivers. Seniors with dementia often benefit from routines. Often, they prefer a consistent caregiver. One who knows their preferences and is familiar with the routine.

Alzheimer’s Disease at an Early Stage

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease occurs long before any symptoms are noticeable. Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease is the term for this stage, which is typically only recognized in research settings. At this stage, neither you nor your loved one’s caregivers will notice any symptoms.

It may take years, or perhaps decades, for this stage of Alzheimer’s to pass. Even though you won’t notice any changes, modern imaging techniques may now spot deposits of the amyloid-beta protein, which is a defining feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Being able to recognize these early deposits may be extremely crucial when developing new Alzheimer’s disease treatments in the future and for clinical trials.

Alzheimer’s Disease Causes Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Mild Cognitive Impairment causes deficits in memory and thinking skills. People with MCI may have trouble remembering things that are usually easy to remember, such as conversations, recent events, or appointments.

People with MCI may also have problems correctly evaluating the number or sequence of steps required to finish a task. Making sound decisions can become more difficult for people with MCI.

Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Mild Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease is typically diagnosed in the mild dementia stage when symptoms such as memory and cognitive difficulties that impair daily life become apparent to both family caregivers and homecare professionals.

Moderate Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s Disease

When Alzheimer’s disease progresses to the moderate dementia stage, patients require higher levels of care as they become increasingly disoriented and forgetful. This condition can greatly jeopardize their safety.

Severe Dementia Brought on by Alzheimer’s

Severe dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease is the final stage of the condition, during which time mental function continues to deteriorate and the disease’s effects on movement and physical abilities continue to worsen.

In caring for a senior with dementia it is important for the caregiver to remain calm in all situations. A caregiver with a calm, patient demeanor can usually help the senior communicate more easily. Maintain a low tone of voice and a positive, friendly attitude, when possible. Don’t crowd the senior. If he or she is steady on their feet and does pose a fall risk, speak to them from a respectable distance to avoid making them feel intimidated.

Remember, patience and flexibility are extremely important when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Dementia. In addition, self-care and the support of family and friends can help a family caregiver deal with the challenges and frustrations ahead.

Allcare Home Health caregivers receive ongoing in-service training with much of it focused on Alzheimer-related dementia. Call us today to schedule a new client assessment for in home dementia care in Raleigh!