Aggression – which can include verbal or physical violence – often emerges without warning, experts said, and is one of the most troublesome behavioral changes. It can sometimes be triggered by the agitation and frustration that often accompanies dementia. Such behavior can also be caused by a change in surroundings, experts said, or having too much or too little stimulation or talking.
Experts advise that caregivers address aggression by first maintaining a safe environment, removing dangerous objects, providing space to the person who is upset and speaking to them in a soothing voice. Next they should try to figure out the cause of the behavior and make attempts to address it, whether it be altering the environment or focusing on a new activity that does not upset the person.
Sometimes the aggression can be caused by a physical discomfort that the person with Alzheimer’s is unable to verbalize. Because of this, caregivers need to consult a doctor and look for underlying medical causes, experts said.