6 Common Causes of Anger in Older Adults Who Have Dementia

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One of the top challenges family caregivers can face is handling anger in a senior loved one living with dementia. Aggression could make a difficult situation worse and lead to other problems. Below are some of the causes of anger in seniors with dementia and how to manage each situation.

1. Frustration

The inability to complete tasks without assistance is often overwhelming and causes seniors with dementia to experience negative emotions, including anger. Seniors with dementia often find it difficult to differentiate between reality and fiction and become frustrated. You can help your aging loved one remain calm by distracting him or her and redirecting his or her attention. For example, if your parent is frustrated when doing a task, change the subject immediately or distract him or her with another activity.

2. Discomfort

Experiencing muscle pain and other types of discomfort could make your loved one angry, especially if he or she is unable to communicate those feelings. As the condition progresses and leads to cognitive problems and poor communication, your parent may rely on acts of anger and aggression to get your attention. An excellent way to handle this problem is to check your loved one’s comfort levels to see if he or she is in pain or needs assistance.

Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Kingwood families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care.

3. Criticism

Pointing out your loved one’s faults could lead him or her to experience emotional exhaustion, which can turn into anger. When speaking with your parent about an issue, look for solutions instead of focusing on what he or she did wrong. Never lecture your parent, and be considerate of his or her emotions and limitations. Keep in mind the condition is causing most of these errors, and constant criticism could trigger your loved one’s anger.

4. Overstimulation

Boredom is bad for older adults living with neurological disorders such as dementia, but overworking their minds could be even worse. Your loved one could become emotionally exhausted due to overstimulation and lash out at you and others. To avoid this emotional trigger, consider your loved one’s limitations when creating tasks and always schedule the activities during times when he or she is at his or her best.

The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which can put their safety and health at risk. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

5. Uncertainty

Dementia is a progressive disorder, and the symptoms vary from person to person. The fear of not knowing how quickly the condition will progress or what sign will appear next could be difficult for your loved one to handle and cause anger as well as grief. Help your parent develop strategies—such as taking up fun hobbies and exercising—for managing the negative feelings that come from uncertainty, and make sure to praise your loved one when he or she accomplishes a goal, regardless of how small the accomplishment is.

6. Guilt

Seniors with dementia may rely on family and friends for assistance with even the most basic tasks, especially as the condition progresses, which could lead to guilt and cause them to feel angry and inadequate. Have regular talks with your loved one and offer reassurance. Let your loved one know you’re there for him or her even during challenging times. Knowing he or she has your love and support could ease feelings of guilt and enhance his or her mood. 

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Families looking for top-rated Kingwood elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 832-412-1345 to learn about the high quality of our in-home dementia care services.