senior couple

News & Events

We're here when you need us. Call today!

, , ,

What to Do When Alzheimer’s Patients Become Combative

when alzheimers person gets angry

What To Do When Alzheimer’s Patients Become Combative

It is not uncommon to see Alzheimer’s patients becoming combative or aggressive. A lot of factors contribute to such combativeness. Sometimes, it is challenging to know how to respond to a patient who has become aggressive.

Causes & Triggers Of Aggression


Alzheimer’s patients are fearful because they have a difficulty with mundane processes that no longer make sense. Such difficulties can bring about feelings of a loss of control which then leads to aggression.


You know that Alzheimer’s affects the memory a person. When the patient begins to become forgetful, they become confused about everything.

Confusion can drive them to becoming combative.

Inability To Verbally Communicate

Speech is an important aspect of human life and you can understand why an Alzheimer’s patient may be agitated when they cannot communicate.

When it becomes difficult for the patient to articulate what they want, they become angry and combative. This is the only way they know how to express their discomfort and anger.

Other Medical Problems

Medical problems could also cause a patient to be combative. For example, poorly managed diabetes or urinary tract infections create discomforts for the patient who then responds by becoming combative.

Other Environmental & Social Factors

Simple things like failing to understand television programs can make a dementia patient become combative. Also, if they no longer know how kitchen appliances work or they cannot follow family conversations, they will become aggressive.

Lastly, if the patient senses that those around him or her are anxious, tense or irritable, they can become combative.

How To Respond When Patients Become Combative

When the patient becomes combative, take the following steps to handle the situation

Back Off

The safest way out is to simply back off if it is possible. Do not act defensively or angrily because this will aggravate the situation and cause the patient to become more combative

Talk Calmly

You should completely avoid raising your voice at the patient when they become combative. Raising your voice may cause them to respond in a physical manner and become violent. Just talk in a calm and soothing voice.

Don’t Convince Them Otherwise

You may be tempted to try and convince the patient that their reasons for becoming combative are wrong. Unfortunately, they do not know or feel that why. Telling them only makes them feel angrier and become more combative. Don’t try to convince them that their reasons are wrong. Play along and try to resolve the situation even if their reasons are actually wrong.

Go Along With Them

As long as it is safe for you to do so, you should go along with what the patient wants. For example, if they want to be taken home yet they are already home, don’t try to convince them that they are home. Go along and tell them that you will take them home.

Understand what triggers cause the patient to be aggressive so that you can best help them. Change your style and behavior to create a less stressful environment for the patient.