5 Tips for Dealing with Agitation & Anxiety for Alzheimer's
Though anxiety or agitation may have a number of causes in persons suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, the disorientation it causes is a direct result of the disease. There are things you can do to reduce anxiety inducing stimuli if you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's, such as avoiding changes in the home, environment, or caregiver routines.
Creating a calm environment free of known triggers is key to reducing the risk of outbursts. Part of this environment should be a healthy dose of exercise and simplified tasks to provide meaningful engagement. But all things kept equal, the opportunity may arise now and again for an outburst -so how should you handle a situation when it arises?
We've got 5 tips to dealing with agitation and anxiety in Alzheimer's patients.
Remain Calm and Take a Step Back
In situations where a patient with dementia or Alzheimer's enters a state of panic or agitation, it's good to step back and give them space to sort out the stimuli. Use calming statements, slow down, and offer space to process what's happening. Environmentally, try to reduce known triggers such as loud TVs, music, lights, and others.
Be An Active Listener
Active listening is a conflict resolution technique that makes use of a listener's full concentration. It not only requires listening to words but also body language and behaviour so you have a full understanding of what is going on. Active listening can give the Alzherimer's patient with anxiety a chance to vent their frustrations and an opportunity for you to give meaningful reassurance that it will all be OK.
Increase Activities and Energy Outlets
Sometimes anxiety and agitation find root in monotony or lack of stimulation. Providing meaningful outlets and regular activity like our MindFit Cafe, which not only improve their mood, but carefully tailored cognitive games have shown to support neural plasticity. Brain games specifically provide an outlet that has lasting benefits like improved memory, reasoning, and processing speed for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
Check Your Own Response
Take a step back and reflect on your own behaviour or response. Did you move too suddenly? Perhaps you yourself are not in a good mood and you've criticized, argued or raised your voice at them. Perhaps you were in a rush and tried to corner or restrain them to speed up the care. Whatever it may be, calm and gentle care is the best way to reduce anxiety or agitation in patients suffering from Alzheimer's.
See A Doctor
If none of the known triggers seem to be causing the increased anxiety, and exercise or calm assertive energy is not curbing agitation, it's always best to see your primary care physician. This will help you rule out any medication or physical causes related to the increased stress.
At Home Care Assistance Toronto, we understand that anxiety and agitation in Alzheimer's and dementia patients is just a by-product of the disease. Our specialized in-home care specialists and nurses understand the value of routine and provide not only companionship, but also physical and mental exercises to improve cognition and overall well-being. If you'd like to learn more about how our caregivers deal with and defuse anxiety and agitation, contact us today for a free in-home evaluation.
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