BY SUSAN MACAULAY: For More Info, Go Here…
One of the most useful things I’ve learned on this dementia journey is that when people who live with dementia exhibit responsive behaviours which appear angry and/or aggressive there’s usually a perfectly reasonable and rational explanation for it – from their point of view.
Such behaviour is not random (although it may appear to be), it’s not willful (although it may appear to be), and it’s not their fault (although it may appear to be).
“Problematic” responsive behaviour is most often the result of:
- A physical issue they are unable to pinpoint and/or articulate (e.g. pain, incontinence issue)
- A “trigger” or triggers in the environment (e.g. noise, temperature, activity)
- How I or someone else has interacted with them
The obvious way to stop anger and aggression is to address the root cause:
- Find and address the physical issue
- Identify and remove the environmental trigger(s)
- Stop blaming them and start taking responsibility for causing responsive behaviours
In the third instance, dementia care expert Teepa Snow suggests learning, practicing and using these six simple phrases to acknowledge the person, accept responsibility, diffuse the situation, restore positive energy and create the opportunity for healing.
- “I’m sorry I was trying to help.”
- “I’m sorry I made you angry.”
- “I’m sorry I embarrassed you.”
- “I’m sorry I made you feel stupid.”
- “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to, but I treated you like a child.”
- “I’m sorry, this is really hard.”