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If a loved one has dementia it can be a difficult time for all those involved. Family members that were once kind and gentle can become prone to angry outburst and accusations – through no fault of their own. When we think of the main symptoms of dementia we tend to focus on confusion and memory loss, but the personality changes that their loved ones experience can often be some of the worst side effects that come with the condition. When a person you know completely changes the way they act to something out of character it can be a difficult thing to witness and you may be thinking about getting dementia care.

There is currently no cure for dementia, though a lot of research is ongoing. It has been found that those with dementia are more sensitive to emotional contagion which is the ability to mirror another’s feelings. This means that if they see a carer or family member upset or frustrated, they might mirror this. This combined with an inability to express how they are feeling and what they need is what likely leads to these outbursts. While these outbursts aren’t nice for anyone involved, there are a few things you can do to try and help with the anger that they might display and hone it in before it escalates. Here are some top tips for dementia care with anger.

Don’t snap back

While a natural response can be to argue when someone shouts or isn’t very nice to you, this is the worst thing to do. Instead, take a deep breath and reassure your loved one instead that everything is okay. Their reaction is likely to be a knock-off effect from the frustration of not being able to express their needs properly, so try and find other ways to decipher what these needs are.
Dementia care - helping with anger outbursts

Keep a record of their behaviour

Is there a certain time of day that they seem to get more angry or frustrated? Or is it when they are trying to do a certain task or think of something in particular? By keeping a record of it you can see what might be causing these outbursts to happen and prevent them from happening as often in the future. You could write it down in a notebook and look out for any patterns in how they react.

Adjust the environment that they are in

In dementia patients, they can be triggered by over-stimulation so try to make their space as calm and distraction-free as possible. Reduce as much noise as you can and get rid of unnecessary clutter. Put on some relaxing music and offer them a weighted blanket or something that can help them to feel soothed. You could read a book or offer them another form of distraction that should help them. 

Be sure to give yourself time off

If you are a dementia carer for your loved one, it can become draining and take an impact on your mental health. That is where Secure Healthcare Solutions Dementia Care services come in. We have a range of dementia care services near you that can help ease the burden on you and give them an extra level of care too.

Remember to not take it to heart when a loved one gets angry and that they don’t mean it. Just be there for them and seek extra dementia care near you if needed. Find out more about our dementia care services and how we can help here.

If you are looking for a role as a carer or a specialist dementia carer we have a range of job roles available. You can view those here.

Talking Point is a helpful online community where anyone who is affected by dementia can receive valuable support.

It’s free, open day or night, and can be accessed online.

‘I really appreciated the help and support I get from people I’ve never met. This helped me to cope with my situation, deal with my feelings, frustrations, worries and fears. I felt as though there was always someone I could turn to, and no matter when I posted, I always received a reply from someone within hours.

‘When you are dealing with someone with dementia, this is so important. With statutory services, I have often had to wait days for anyone just to ring me back.’

On Talking Point you can:

  • ask for advice
  • read other people’s stories
  • offload your concerns about dementia
  • share helpful information.

How is Talking Point run?

Talking Point is run by a small team of staff and supported by brilliant volunteers. The volunteers all have personal experience of caring for people with dementia. They help to welcome new members, point people toward useful resources and provide on-going support for the service.

As the community isn’t manned by professional advisers, it cannot provide medical or legal advice. Help is instead provided through shared experience and peer support.

Register to Talking Point

Visit Talking Point now to register and join the community.

You can begin by posting a message to introduce yourself in our welcome forum. You may prefer to browse the community for a while, and simply read what others have written, before posting a message.

If you have any questions, please refer to Talking Point guide or contact our team on TalkingPoint@alzheimers.org.uk.

People with dementia and their carers talk about the everyday challenges they face in living well with dementia. … Although help from health and care services is vitally important, making it possible for people affected by dementia to live well will require help from people and organisations across society.

Dementia Friendly Communities is a programme which facilitates the creation of dementia-friendly communities across the UK. Everyone, from governments and health boards to the local corner shop and hairdresser, share part of the responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.

What is a dementia-friendly community?

We need to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included, and that they can confidently contribute to community life.

Everyone, from governments and health boards, to the local corner shop and hairdresser, have a responsibilty to make sure people with dementia feel active, engaged and valued.

We need sustained national leadership and grassroots action on dementia to create a dementia-friendly Britain. At Alzheimer’s Society, we’ve set up a defined process for communities and businesses to gain recognition for their work in becoming dementia friendly.

How to become a recognised dementia-friendly community

Recognition processes enables communities to be publicly recognised for their work towards becoming dementia-friendly. It was built around seven criteria. These criteria were developed around what is important to people affected by dementia and their carers, and consists of an online development programme and annual reporting requirements.

Look at the documents for the seven criterias to learn more about what is expected of communities registering for recognition

Dementia Friendly Business Pilot

As well as looking at how people with dementia live in their local communities, we’re leading work on helping businesses support dementia friendly communities. Piloted by industry leaders including British Gas and Sainsbury’s, this work will define and implement how employers can best support their employees, customers or clients who are living with dementia. This is providing the best practice examples, with the view to rolling out a framework for achieving this on a national level.