What To Do When A Dementia Patient Becomes Violent

what to do when a dementia patient becomes violent
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Understanding the Causes of Dementia-Related Violence

When a person has dementia, their behavior can become unpredictable and sometimes even violent. This can put caregivers, family members, and healthcare providers in a difficult situation. It’s important to understand what could be causing the person’s behavior so that you can respond in the best way possible.

Dementia-related violence is often related to a person’s physical and/or mental health. It can be triggered by pain, confusion, fear, and frustration. In some cases, the person may also have difficulty communicating their needs or expressing their emotions which can lead to aggressive behavior. It’s important to remember that the person is not doing this on purpose, but rather they are unable to control their behavior due to their dementia.

Tips for Dealing with Dementia-Related Violence

When a dementia patient becomes violent, it’s important to remember that the best response is a calm one. Here are some tips for dealing with the situation:

1. Stay calm and reassuring. Speak in a gentle voice and try to remain patient. It’s important to remember that the person may not be able to understand what you are saying, so it’s best to just be understanding and supportive.

2. Distract the person. Try to engage the person in a different activity or provide them with a distraction like a book or a toy. This may help to redirect the person’s attention away from the violent behavior.

3. Remove any potential triggers. Take a look around the environment and remove any potential triggers that may be causing the person to become agitated or frustrated. This could include loud noises, bright lights, or too many people in the room.

4. Monitor the person’s physical health. Make sure that the person is not in any physical discomfort that could be causing their behavior. Check for signs of pain, dehydration, hunger, or fatigue.

5. Get help. If the situation becomes too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to call for help. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to handle it alone. It’s best to call for a professional who can help de-escalate the situation.

Preventing Dementia-Related Violence

There are steps you can take to help prevent dementia-related violence. This includes:

1. Establish a routine. Creating a regular routine can help the person feel more secure and can provide structure to their day. This can help reduce confusion and frustration.

2. Use positive reinforcement. Try to use positive reinforcement to encourage desirable behaviors. This could include verbal praise or providing rewards for good behavior.

3. Educate yourself. Make sure that you understand the person’s diagnosis, any potential triggers, and any other factors that could be contributing to their behavior.

4. Offer support. Make sure that the person has access to the proper care and support. This could include dementia-specific care, counseling, or support groups.

5. Create a safe environment. Provide the person with a safe environment that is free from any potential triggers or stressors. Make sure that the environment is well lit, quiet, and comfortable.

When to See a Professional

If the person’s behavior is becoming increasingly violent or if you are concerned for their safety, it’s important to seek professional help right away. A doctor or mental health professional can help assess the situation and provide the necessary support and treatment.

It’s also important to remember that you are not alone. There are resources and support groups available to help you and the person with dementia. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.


When a dementia patient becomes violent, it’s important to remember to stay calm and to focus on the person’s needs. Try to remove any potential triggers and look for signs of physical discomfort or distress. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to handle it alone and that help is available. If the situation becomes too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.

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