MisUnderstanding Dementia: Why is my loved one always angry?

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MisUnderstanding Dementia: Why is my loved one always angry?

Our loved ones with dementia, they go through different stages.

The first 2 stages is the denial stage. Where they think that they can still do some things that they are unable to do anymore.

The next stage is what you call about the anger or humor stage.

Why anger? It’s because they can’t do what they used to do before. They can’t express themselves anymore. It’s what’s going on in their brain.

For example me, since English is my second language, everytime I get sick, I did not want to talk to my kids.

Because I did not want to talk to my kids in English.

I just want to talk to my wife because she can talk in my native language.

That’s also what’s going on with your loved ones. It takes them 60 – 90 seconds to process information. We call it the 90 second rule when it comes to dementia patients.

It takes them 90 seconds to process the information.

If they cannot process it, they go through a defensive mode – which is anger or humor.

You will see a lot of this in the nursing homes wherein some patients laugh at each joke.

On the other side, you have the patients who are always angry.

How do you minimize this?

You minimize this by asking them questions answerable by yes or no.

Ask them close-ended questions.

Instead of asking them what they want for breakfast, ask them if they want eggs or if they want coffee.

Make sure to ask them questions answerable by yes or no.

Enjoyed the article? 

You can find more great content here:

MisUnderstanding Dementia: Running Your Own Race

About the author 

Dr Michael Chua PT, DPT

Dr Michael Chua is a physical therapist practising in Home Health, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Acute Care Hospital. His clinical interest involves pain management, geriatrics and dementia management. He enjoys treating patients and bringing out the best in them using positive treatment approaches, his dynamic work setting in a rural area provides an opportunity to treat a wide range from geriatrics to orthopaedics.

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