Aggression in People With Dementia

Immigrants living with dementia were more likely to present with agitation and aggression compared with their non-immigrant counterparts, a new study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) in collaboration with The Dementia Centre, HammondCare, found.

Researchers from ECU’s Centre for Research in Aged Care and HammondCare’s The Dementia Centre noted that behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), such as agitation and aggression, are common; however, its presentation may be influenced by the cultural background of the person.

A study investigated differences in clinical and demographics characteristics and BPSD between immigrants and non-immigrants living with dementia in residential aged care homes who were referred to Dementia Support Australia (DSA) programs.

The study found that immigrants were more likely to present with agitation or aggression, while non-immigrants were more likely to present with hallucinations and delusions.

DSA, a free, Australian Government-funded dementia behaviour support program, has supported over 60,000 clients and 98 percent of aged care homes in every state and territory since 2016.

BPSD were common between the groups, with language barriers and cultural considerations frequently observed for immigrants, adding to the contributing factors.

Chejor and his colleagues noted that loneliness, boredom, language barriers, and cultural considerations significantly contributed to BPSD for non-English-speaking immigrants compared with non-immigrants, with the largest significant differences being for language barriers and cultural considerations.

There were no differences in the prevalence of contributing factors between English-speaking immigrants and non-immigrants.

Head of DSA Marie Alford said the study reinforced the importance of understanding the person living with dementia, including their cultural background and experiences, likes, dislikes and routines when responding to BPSD.


Pelden Chejor, Mustafa Atee, Patricia Cain, Daniel Whiting, Thomas Morris, Davina Porock. Comparing clinico-demographics and neuropsychiatric symptoms for immigrant and non-immigrant aged care residents living with dementia: a retrospective cross-sectional study from an Australian dementia-specific support service. BMC Geriatrics, 2023; 23 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12877-023-04447-3

Edith Cowan University. (2024, February 9). Language barriers could contribute to higher aggression in people with dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 9, 2024 from

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