Older people sometimes develop dementia, a somewhat common condition that results in mental and emotional confusion. Some of these people, often those who are institutionalized, display anger outbursts due to relatively mild provocations, such as an unwanted meal item. At other times the anger is warranted, as when another resident initiates a conflict. For reasons like these and others, anger management therapy for dementia patients is becoming increasingly important.
Symptoms That May Warrant Anger Management Therapy
It may be difficult to determine at first who is eligible for anger management therapy. Residents with dementia who live at home or in nursing facilities often try to express themselves in non-traditional ways. While someone who wants their breakfast oatmeal served hotter can just say so, someone with dementia might be able to just make anxious sounds, pace, or even throw the oatmeal on the floor. If someone in your care exhibits dissatisfaction with some aspect of daily care, try to figure out what is bothering the person, and make any needed adjustments that you can.
Dementia patients may raise their voice, swing their arms, push, shove, or yank at things or people to convey their irritation. Caregivers must learn to decipher true anger from confusion or self-defense against other aggressive residents. Anger management therapy should be considered for those who express real anger inappropriately.
Some dementia residents may withdraw socially, stop talking to others, or gesticulate excitedly when they are upset. Sometimes these actions are in response to legitimate concerns, while at other times they may reflect unsuitable anger that needs to be redirected. If the person is able to understand and respond to caregivers in appropriate ways, he or she may be eligible for anger management therapy.
Anger Management Therapy for Dementia Patients
Any anger management therapy facilitator or coordinator who works with dementia residents will need to understand the way that those with dementia communicate, and the types of triggers that can draw their anger. This may require some training in long-term facility care, gerontology, and dementia behaviours. The therapist may attempt group or individual therapy, depending on the patient’s needs and abilities.
In anger management therapy, the coordinator may try to make the resident understand the consequences of anger outbursts, or attempt to teach the resident how to redirect anger in acceptable ways. At times, the therapist might want to work with the resident’s physician, social worker, and family to achieve the best results. This type of effort could take a long time and may be only partially successful yet, any progress is undoubtedly helpful.
Family members and caregivers who want to know more can visit websites like anger-management-information.com for more complete information on how to address this key social and interpersonal behavior. They also can get in touch with the doctor, nursing staff, and social worker for help in assisting a dementia patient through anger management therapy that may lead to improved outcomes for the resident and those that provide his or her care and support.