I was honored to be interviewed for a New York Times piece on dementia and aggressive behaviors. Paula Span, author of The New Old Age blog for the Times, describes the difficulties families and facilities face when a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia responds with anger and physical aggression.
While dementia and confusion can lead to aggression, there are instances where we as family and caregivers can create an environment that causes the aggression. Though well-meaning, often a caregiver’s approach or commands can cause an outburst. A noisy and stimulating environment can do the same.
And often, we can see anxiety “brewing” in advance if we are aware of the signs. Key is understanding the triggers prior to the onset of aggression, and to have the insight to adjust the approach, abandon the task, or change the environment to prevent a crisis.