Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Seniors and Dementia: Coping with Anger and Aggression

By Erin Carll

Elderly Care in Allison Park PA

Dementia can cause your loved one to develop serious behavioral issues that will only become more intense as the condition progresses. One common behavior problem is an increase in anger and aggression. These mood swings can occur for no apparent reason or may be triggered by something that may seem minuscule to us.

Your loved one will need to be cared for by an elderly care provider in order to make sure they do not harm themselves or someone else. The following information will also help you better understand what the elder is going through and how you can help.


If your loved one suddenly becomes aggressive, knowing what triggered this behavior will give you and the elder care provider an idea on how to respond to it. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Environmental Factors: being too overwhelmed or over stimulated by an abundance of noise and other distractions could cause the senior to become angry. Also, pay close attention to the time of day that this happens because some people with dementia may function better at certain times of the day. Record your loved one's aggressive moments in a journal to see if there is a pattern.
  • Lack of communication. Bombarding the elder with too many questions could trigger an aggressive response. They may also become angry if the can sense your own stress or frustration.
  • Problems with physical health. Their anger and aggression could be their way of telling you that they are in pain or are not sleeping well. Their medications could also be causing behavioral issues.

Responding to the Behavioral Problems

Whether you help with the caregiving responsibilities or are a frequent visitor for your loved one, knowing how to respond to the aggression and anger could help diffuse the situations.

  • What triggered it? Think about what happened right before your loved one acted out.
  • Find out if pain or stress is a possibility. While trying to determine the reason for your loved one's behavior, determine if it has anything to do with pain or stress.
  • Stay calm. Becoming upset or frustrated will only make the situation worse. When speaking to the senior, remain calm and reassuring while trying to diffuse the situation.
  • Distract them. Bring their attention to a different activity in order to distract them. This could be a puzzle, movie, or a walk in order to improve their mood.

Caring for someone in the advanced stages of dementia can be extremely challenging. A trained senior care provider can offer around-the-clock care for the elder in order to make sure they are well taken care of during to time in their life.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring in-home elderly care in Allison Park, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.