What to Do When an Older Person Suffers from Aggressive Behaviour

Aggression among older adults around us might result in problems, especially in a family environment. It is necessary to develop a suitable strategy that will make the lives of older adults much easier.

How to identify behavioral changes in the elderly

When talking about behavioural changes, they don't have to be about aggressiveness specifically. Before talking about hard to control challenges, it is crucial to pay close attention to other warning symptoms that might be warning us of the possibility of impulsive or violent behaviour. Some of the warning signs of depression include:

  • Disorientation
  • Wandering
  • Memory loss
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Difficulty for abstract understanding such as concepts, numbers and associations
  • Sudden mood swings for no reason

To solve the issue with a guarantee of successful treatment, below are some of the prior considerations that you will have to take;

  • Identify the kind of conduct disorder, the characteristics that the new attitude displays with aggressive tendencies. They may include sexual disinhibition, physical or verbal violence and negativism, among others.
  • Evaluate how severe these violent episodes occur.
  • Find out how often these violent episodes occur.

From here, you can begin working on what triggers these episodes and the best treatment.

What are the reasons behind the aggressiveness? If the older adult has not shown any aggressive behaviour in the previous years, then this problem may result from pathology. Most of the aggressive behaviours in older people are mostly the same as the symptoms related to psychiatric illness. Moreover, they are also accompanied by some characteristic behavioural traits:

  • Depression: Agitation, lamentations, complaints, hypochondriasis
  • Personality disorder: All the symptoms mentioned above exacerbated.

Similarly, some situations can't be referred to as diseases. However, they produce adverse effects at the same time. Social isolation, depression and continued loneliness will always make older people not respond appropriately to the daily problems.

Consequences of aggressive behavior in older people

It is not easy to understand behavioural disturbances as an isolated event. Distrust, sexual disinhibition, and jealousy of dependent people or the elderly might cause a problem for both of them and their immediate environment.

Both caregivers and family members must be in the know of any significant modification when it comes to the behaviour of the person being taken care of as these disorders are a challenge to all the parties involved.

To handle these complicated situations correctly, you need to take into account the fact that aggressiveness does not have to manifest itself as verbal or physical violence necessarily. 

You also need to consider that there is a chance that the behaviour change can be a type of passive-aggressiveness taking place due to resistance to cooperating.

There are strategies in place that you can use to control aggression among older people. One of the strategies that work best to reduce aggressive responses among the elderly is to spend quality time with them. This does not mean paying visits of an hour per week. It's best to spend quality time where the older adults can notice that they are being noticed and that their company is valuable

If an episode of physical or verbal violence occurs, it will be great to forget the ties which unite us to the people. If someone close to the person or the caregiver takes the offence personally, then the relationship will deteriorate. The best solution to the problem may be understanding the elderly person is expressing a bigger problem and keeping your distance.

Tips on how to deal with aggressive elderly

While dealing with aggressive behaviour in seniors, caregivers and family members can come in handy. In serious cases where the situation is beyond control, there is a higher chance of physical harm to those who care for them and the elderly as well. Another solution is drug therapy, provided there is consultation with a doctor.

However, to arrive at this point, other therapeutic strategies don't involve drugs as they will have to be ruled out. For this situation, psychological disarmament of aggressive elderly people will be essential to reduce tension and redirect events of greatest stress.

How to deal with passive-aggressive elderly mother

You Can try and pay extra attention to an elderly mother while they are talking. By doing so, they feel more validated and it will reduce their passive aggression. Make eye contact with them while they are talking and don't interrupt.

How to calm elderly with dementia

Music therapy helps calm the elderly suffering from dementia as it helps them reflect on happier times. Music is great as it helps improve memory function. Besides music, gentle human touches help create a bond between the elderly and the caregiver, resulting in a calming effect.


Physical exercise, animal therapy, communication and music therapy are some of the ways that can help prevent aggressive behaviours in older adults from becoming commonplace. The most crucial thing is that you need to be aware of this and attend to the situation fast to prevent the problem from being a major risk.

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