Learn tips to help ease anxiety and agitation in older adults with Alzheimer’s.
Memory loss is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, and with more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, it is perhaps the most well-known symptom. But along with memory loss, many newly diagnosed individuals also struggle with anxiety and agitation, often in response to the fear they are experiencing as memory loss symptoms increase and as they begin to feel less in control of their cognition and day-to-day life. Anxiety and agitation in older adults can manifest in excessive movement, disruptive irritability, emotional distress, aggression, and loss of inhibition.
Agitation and anxiety can be triggered by a number of scenarios such as:
- Fear from trying to make sense out of a confusing world
- Fatigue from either inadequate or poor-quality sleep, or a change in routine
- A change in caregiver arrangements
- Misperceived threats
- Changes in routine, such as travel, hospitalization, or visitors
- Infection or other medical issue
The Alzheimer’s Association offers tips to help manage anxiety and agitation in a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s:
- Keep a journal or diary. Jot down detailed notes about what triggers may increase anxiety or agitation in your loved one. Look for patterns.
- Keep your loved one comfortable. Alzheimer’s can magnify feelings of discomfort. Hunger, thirst, cold, heat, pain, a full bladder, or an undiagnosed medical issue can all impact how a person feels. Ask questions to help identify what might make the senior comfortable and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Manage environmental triggers. Background distractions such as music or the television, glare, increased shadows and low lighting can all act as triggers that make someone with Alzheimer’s feel anxious. Keep noises to a minimum and utilize lights and curtains to help distract from late day changes in daylight.
- Establish a calm home environment. Designate a room or space where the senior can feel safe and secure and where distractions and stressors are kept at a minimum.
- Maintain a routine. Having a regular routine in place can provide a great deal of comfort to an individual with Alzheimer’s.
- Exercise. Regular exercise, either seated indoor exercise or a walk around the neighborhood or local park are great ways to channel energy and help maintain a regular routine. Regular exercise has also been shown to help maintain cognition in older adults.
Another great way to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s to feel safe is to partner with a trusted, professional home care agency like Visiting Care Giving Services. Our Chesterfield dementia care team is specially trained in techniques that can help reduce anxiety, agitation and other challenging behaviors in individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Let our compassionate care team develop a customized plan of care that involves memory care activities, regular exercise, reminiscing and so much more.
Contact us today at (636) 493-9058 to learn more about our home and respite care services and to schedule a complimentary in-home assessment with one of our knowledgeable caregivers, expertly trained in dementia care serving Chesterfield and surrounding communities. To learn if we offer care in your community, please visit the service area page on our website.