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How to prevent aggression arising

Steps to take to prevent agressive behaviour re-occurring:

  • If you can find out what the triggers are, you may be able to work out how to prevent the behaviour
  • Try to keep a calm environment by cutting down the stimulation, which could be in the environment, or in the activity that the person is doing. ‘Environment’ could mean the TV, radio, other noisy residents or an unfamiliar place
  • Look out for a warning sign before the outburst. This warning sign depends on the person but may be increased agitation or restlessness. If this happens, try to distract or reassure by gently touching the person or putting your arm around his or her shoulders. Do not, however, let the person feel that you are trying to hold him or her down, for the person will fight you.
  • Do not change familiar routines. Try to keep to routine and to familiar surroundings, as much as possible.
  • Perhaps the person has become frustrated at a task he cannot do or does not want to do. Remember that people with dementia often have severe reactions to feelings of failure. When you show or tell the person what to do, explain what to do step by step, with plenty of time in-between for the person to carry it out. Do not give too many choices, as this will be confusing.
  • Do not criticise mistakes or inadequacies. Instead, give praise for efforts and achievements.
  • Encourage independence by letting him do as much as he can for himself.
  • Explain to visitors that the person might not recognise them and they must not put pressure on the person to try to remember them.
  • You also have your needs and there will be times when you feel that you cannot face the day with the person or you feel that you might shout or even hit out. If this happens, try to avoid letting the person see how you feel, as people with dementia can be very sensitive to moods and will pick up yours quickly and react in the way that you feel. Take a walk on your own or sit in a quiet corner and try to relax.
  • Attend an Alzheimer’s support group if there is one in your area, as the people who attend will understand your problems and will be able to give you support and advice.

Should the aggression just get worse no matter what you try, do discuss the problem with the doctor or clinic as the person might need a full assessment performed and other forms of intervention might need to be considered, such as medication.