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With Easter approaching and Anzac Day the following week, this is a time or year where many families will take the time to get away.

Elderly people living in their own homes may find this time lonelier than usual. For veterans, Anzac Day may stir up additional emotions.

For support workers in the community, it is a busier time than usual.

This mix can lead to an increase in aggressive behaviours.

When we find behaviours on a particular day to be more serious than usual, it is helpful to take a moment to reflect on what might be happening in the life of the person presenting those behaviours.

What is different today for the person we are supporting?

The possible differences are unlimited but three that come immediately to mind at this time of year are:

  • Is the person frustrated by the changes to their usual support offered by your organisation?
  • Is the person lonelier than usual?
  • Is the person feeling more vulnerable without their usual family support?

What are we doing that is different?

  • Are we rushing because of the increased workload?
  • Are we less friendly than usual because of the work, and perhaps family, pressures we are under over the holiday period?
  • Are we too focused on our list of tasks to complete and how quickly we can complete them rather than the purpose behind those tasks being completed?

Given the reason we are in the house in the first place to support this person to live as full a life as possible, is it a false economy to trim a few minutes out of your “scope of work” to save time (and money) today if the cost is far more time (and money) spent tomorrow managing incidents and their consequences?

So what SHOULD we do differently?

In line with the adage, a stitch in time saves nine, we need to proactively manage the interaction to achieve a positive experience for all involved.

Taking a moment to reflect on why behaviours might be more challenging today, and then finding a few extra minutes for an extra smile, to show some warmth, empathy and reassurance, can go a long way to easing the tension and meeting the underlying need of the person we are supporting.

Be safe over the holidays!


Should you wish to discuss strategies to manage aggression or violence affecting you or your team, please do not hesitate to contact Holland Thomas & Associates


Holland Thomas & Associates

Travis Hol­land
Man­ag­ing Direc­tor
Hol­land Thomas & Asso­ciates
Travis Holland email address