If your parent has dementia, you may have noticed that they are starting to have outbursts of anger. Since you may not even know the cause of their sudden outrage, you may be unsure as to how to handle the situation. While these episodes may be upsetting to you, there are a couple of things you can do to help pacify your parent's anger, no matter if they live at home or in a nursing facility.
Keep Your Own Voice Normal
As your parent becomes angrier, their voice will most likely get quite loud. They may also start saying hurtful things to you. Especially if they start insulting you or bringing up past mistakes or information to attack you, your first reaction will probably be to start yelling back at them and saying things you do not really mean.
However, as their voice get loud and ugly things leave their mouth, remember that this is not the time to get into a yelling match. The disease is what is causing this situation, not them or you. Also, raising your voice will only escalate their anger.
Even if you feel like shouting, try to keep your voice as normal and even as possible. Even if they do not stop immediately, the outburst may subside more quickly without having additional fuel for their fiery mood.
Figure Out the Focal Point of Their Anger
While keeping yourself calm during your parent's outburst, try to figure out what is causing them to be angry. As you listen to what they are saying and looking at, remember that the focal point may not necessarily be a rational one. Because you parent has dementia, their perceptions have probably altered, making even common objects the subject of their anger.
Once you have figured out what has made them angry, be it the color of a new pillowcase or a bird pecking at the window, try to remove the offending object. Or, as in the case with the pecking bird, try to block the object from view by covering it up or shutting a door or window.
Keeping calm and removing triggers can help lower your parent's angry behavior before the situation gets out of hand. As their dementia progresses, you may want to consider speaking with an ABA therapy service to have your parent's behavior and environment examined to find any unseen triggers that can pacify their anger and decrease the number of incidents.