Get the Caregivers' Survival Guide FREE
when you sign-up for the newsletter.

5 Causes of Alzheimer's Outbursts

For people taking care of elderly parents with Alzheimer's or dementia, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with outbursts of agitation and aggression.

Techniques for managing Alzheimer's aggression such as re-directing the person's attention or medication can certainly help. But Cindy Steele, an RN and Nurse Scholar for Copper Ridge, a residential care community, says the key is finding out what is causing the outburst. "Dismissing aggression as a normal behavior associated with Alzheimer's doesn't enable the caregiver to fix whatever is causing the outburst. Why do they seem to get upset? What causes it?" says Steele, who focuses on behavior management for Alzheimer's and dementia.

Find an Alzheimer's Care Community »

She says agitation and aggression are typically caused by one or more of these five factors:

Cognitive Impairment

Sometimes caregivers overestimate what their parent with Alzheimer's or dementia is capable of accomplishing. If a person with Alzheimer's is asked to do a task, and they are not able to complete it, they get upset and frustrated, which results in an outburst. Caregivers must adjust their expectations to their parent's capabilities. And remember that Alzheimer's and dementia are degenerative diseases. Parent's abilities will decline over time, which means expectations must be shifted continually.

Psychological Disorders

Steele says that 40% of people with Alzheimer's develop depression, due to a neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain. Anxiety disorders and delusions also occur quite commonly in people with Alzheimer's. Once these imbalances are identified and diagnosed, medication can be prescribed that has proved to help tremendously.

Print Email
Read more about: causes of alzheimer's
26 people are discussing this article with 33 comments

Free Helpful Guides

Home Care Guide
How to find, hire and manage home care.
Get the home care guide ›
Alzheimer’s Care Guide
Learn from elder care experts, caregivers and patients.
Get your care guide ›
Caregivers' Survival Guide:
Everything you need to care
for an elderly family member.
Get the caregivers' guide ›

Get Answers

Ashburn, VA

Care Providers
Palliative Medical Associates
Learn about our end-of-life care
BrightStar Care - Leesburg and Manassas, VA
Speak with us about your care needs
VITAS Healthcare
Learn about our end-of-life care

Everything you need to care for
an elderly family member.
Download your eBook ›
How to find, hire and
manage home care.
Get the home care guide ›
140 characters left

©2015 AgingCare, LLC. All rights reserved.  About Us  |  Advertise with Us  |  Sitemap


The material of this web site is provided for informational purposes only. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment;
or legal, financial or any other professional services advice. Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.