What to Do When Your Parent Exhibits Aggressive Behavior As a Result of Alzheimer’s

At Choice Health Management, we cater to a wide variety of aging-related needs. Because of this, we’ve seen our fair share of behaviors caused by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Among them is the sudden aggression or anger that seems to arise from nowhere. Today, we’re going to give you tips on what to do when your elderly parent exhibits such behavior:

  • Understand that they’re not acting this way on purpose. Remind yourself of this several times if you need to.
  • Don’t become emotional. This can be difficult to do, but the best way to respond is to speak in a soft, slow tone.
  • Address the immediate cause. Is there something that triggered the behavior? Physical discomfort can often cause it, but sometimes an unfamiliar surrounding or situation can do that as well.
  • Avoid environments where they will be surrounded by too many people, loud noises or excessive clutter. This can overwhelm a person with Alzheimer’s and cause them to react violently.
  • Divert their attention away from the activity or situation that may have caused the outburst.
  • Don’t give complicated directions or instructions, or ask too many questions. Those with Alzheimer’s can be easily confused, and this confusion can lead to an outburst.
  • Reasoning with your parent might not be the best option. Instead, say what you need to in order to make them feel safe or reassured. So, if they are demanding to go home, don’t tell them they already are home. Instead, explain that they can’t leave right at that moment because the weather or traffic is bad.
  • If your parent is in a safe place, it might be best for you to walk away for a little while.


It’s not easy to watch your parents grapple with a disease like Alzheimer’s, and even harder to know how to react when your parent exhibits bad behavior. Keep these tips in mind the next time you visit mom or dad, and hopefully you can steer the visit into a positive one!