Shouting and screaming

A person with dementia may scream, shout or moan or use abusive language, occasionally or repeatedly. Here are our tips for managing shouting.

Shouting and screaming can be very distressing for carers and the person with dementia, and can cause emotional strain between them.

There are many possible reasons for why a person with dementia shouts, including:

  • pain or discomfort
  • attempting to communicate a need, eg hunger or thirst
  • a feeling, eg anxiety, loneliness or boredom
  • under-stimulation or over-stimulation
  • a response to a hallucination or misperception
  • communication problems
  • an unsupportive environment - eg it may be too hot, too cold or too dark.

Shouting and screaming: tips for carers

  • Don't ignore or talk over the person. Involve them in what is happening and explain what is going on. The behaviour may be a response to them misinterpreting your intentions.
  • Try to make sure the person has social interaction and sensory stimulation.
  • Consider relaxing approaches such as music, aromatherapy or massage and touch.
  • Make sure the person has had their sight and hearing checked.
  • Consider how a room looks in the dark and whether anything is potentially frightening. A nightlight in the bedroom may be reassuring.
Want more advice on aggression and dementia?

Read more our tips for managing and responding to aggressive behaviour. 

Learn more
Think this page could be useful to someone? Share it:

Further reading