Jul 5, 2015

Does dementia lead to violence?

Studies estimate that as many as one in four patients with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, show physical aggression toward family members and caregivers.

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Dementia violence | Alzheimer's Reading Room


Highlights
  1. All three defendants, ages 85, 87 and 90, accused of using knives against their spouses
  2. All have mental issues, according to defense attorneys
  3. They could end up in prison or in treatment facilities

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Aggressive behavior is not uncommon among people with dementia and is one of the primary reasons that family members consider placing loved ones in a nursing home, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Studies estimate that as many as one in four patients with Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia, show physical aggression toward family members and caregivers.

Extreme violence by people with dementia is rare, according to medical specialists, yet in a flash of anger or disorientation it can happen. Medical specialists emphasized that, although many people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia develop “behavioral symptoms,” rarely do they seriously harm anyone.

Geschwind of UCSF said pinpointing why dementia patients become aggressive can be difficult. Sometimes, he said, they may simply be responding to pain or discomfort.

“They may be reacting to noises in a crowded room during a meal, or the way they are being touched when someone is trying to care for them. They may simply be very frustrated because of their deficits, but they are unable to express those feelings. It’s very important to determine why they are agitated, and see if you can avoid the activity or modify it in a way that doesn’t upset them.”

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Did dementia lead to violence in three Sacramento cases?


Related information

When Alzheimer's Patients Say Mean Things, What do you do?

How I Stopped My Mother from Being Mean to Me

Can Alzheimers Make You Mean?

Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR).

http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2015/07/does-dementia-lead-to-violence.html