What To Do When Dementia Patients Become Violent: Practical Tips From 2023

what to do when dementia patients become violent
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An Overview of Dementia

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of conditions that cause a person to experience a decline in their cognitive abilities. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 35 million people worldwide. Other types of dementia can include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. While dementia can be caused by a variety of factors, such as stroke, head trauma, or other neurological conditions, it is most commonly caused by aging. As a result, dementia is most common among the elderly population.

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a range of symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, difficulty with communication, and changes in behavior. Depending on the type of dementia, the symptoms can vary significantly. For example, people with Alzheimer’s disease may experience a gradual decline in cognitive function, while people with Lewy body dementia may experience sudden changes in behavior and mood.

Understanding the Causes of Dementia-Related Violence

Dementia-related violence is a serious issue that can be difficult for caregivers to manage. While the exact cause of dementia-related violence is not known, there are several factors that may contribute to this behavior. For instance, changes in a person’s environment or routine can trigger feelings of confusion or agitation, which can lead to aggression. People with dementia may also become frustrated or agitated if they are unable to communicate their needs. Finally, some medications used to treat dementia can also cause changes in behavior.

Tips for Dealing With Dementia-Related Violence

Dealing with dementia-related violence can be challenging, but there are steps that caregivers can take to reduce the risk of it occurring. The first step is to understand the potential triggers for violent behavior and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. For instance, if a person’s environment or routine is causing them to become agitated, make changes to reduce their stress levels. Additionally, look for signs of distress, such as physical or verbal cues, and address them before they become violent.

Caregivers should also take steps to ensure that the person with dementia feels safe and secure. This can include providing a safe and comforting environment, such as a well-lit room with familiar objects and comfortable furniture. Additionally, caregivers should avoid confronting the person with dementia and instead focus on de-escalating the situation by speaking calmly and gently.

Finally, it is important to recognize that dementia-related violence is not the fault of the person with dementia. Caregivers should not talk down to or reprimand the person with dementia, as this can increase their frustration and make the situation worse. Instead, caregivers should try to empathize with the person and provide support and understanding.

When to Seek Professional Help

Dementia-related violence can be a difficult and dangerous situation to manage, and caregivers should consider seeking professional help if they are unable to handle it themselves. Professional help can come in the form of a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or social worker, or an in-home care provider. A mental health professional can provide guidance and support for the caregiver, as well as help identify any underlying causes of the violent behavior. An in-home care provider can provide direct care for the person with dementia, including assistance with daily activities and providing a safe and supportive environment.

It is also important to remember that dementia-related violence is not a sign of weakness or failure. Caregivers should not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help, as it is a sign of strength and commitment to providing the best care possible for the person with dementia.


Dementia-related violence is a serious issue that can be difficult to manage. Caregivers should take steps to identify and reduce any potential triggers for violent behavior, and focus on creating a safe and comfortable environment for the person with dementia. Additionally, caregivers should not be afraid to seek professional help if they are unable to handle the situation themselves. By following these tips, caregivers can help reduce the risk of dementia-related violence and ensure that the person with dementia is able to live as comfortable and safe a life as possible.

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