How To Deal With A Combative Dementia Patient In 2023

how to deal with a combative dementia patient
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Living and caring for a person with dementia can be challenging. As the person’s condition progresses, the person may display increasingly difficult behaviors. One of the most difficult behaviors to manage is when a dementia patient becomes combative. Combative behaviors can include verbal and physical aggression, and can be very distressing and dangerous. In this article, we will look at the causes of combative behavior in people with dementia, and how to manage it in 2023.

Causes of Combative Behavior in Dementia Patients

There are many possible causes of combative behavior in people with dementia. Confusion is a major factor in most cases. The person may become frustrated and confused by their own inability to remember or understand, and this can lead to aggressive behaviors. Other causes may include pain, fear, hunger, thirst, fatigue, boredom, stress, or certain medications.

How to Manage Combative Behavior

When it comes to managing a combative dementia patient, the most important thing is to remain calm. It is also important to remember that the person is not doing this intentionally, and that they are not in control of their behavior. Speak to the person in a soothing and reassuring voice, and try to remain patient. It is also important to take steps to reduce the person’s stress and confusion, as this can often help to resolve the situation.

Reduce Stress and Confusion

To reduce stress and confusion, it is important to create a safe and secure environment. This means minimizing noise and distractions, and making sure the person has access to familiar objects. It is also helpful to provide a routine, and to keep the person’s environment and activities as consistent as possible. If the person is in pain, it is important to make sure their medical needs are met. It is also important to ensure the person is not overstimulated or overwhelmed.

Provide Support and Reassurance

It is also important to provide the person with support and reassurance. Speak to the person in a calm and reassuring tone, and try to distract them from their current situation. Do not argue with the person or attempt to reason with them, as this can often make matters worse. Instead, try to redirect them or distract them with something else. For example, you can offer a snack, or suggest a walk or an activity.

Seek Professional Help

If the person is exhibiting persistent or violent behavior, it is important to seek professional help. Contact a doctor or a specialist dementia care team, who can assess the person and provide advice on how to manage the situation. They may also be able to provide medication or other treatments that can help to reduce the person’s aggression and confusion.


Caring for a person with dementia can be challenging, especially when the person becomes combative. It is important to remain calm and patient, and to take steps to reduce the person’s stress and confusion. Providing support and reassurance is also important, and in some cases, it may be necessary to seek professional help. By following these tips, it is possible to manage a combative dementia patient in 2023.

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