Understanding and working to minimize environmental stressors will allow Alzheimer’s patients to live more comfortably.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s, and other dementias, experience an overwhelming loss of abilities, particularly with negotiating new stimuli and information. It is a very specific dementia-related symptom that can cause profound anxiety and agitation in the afflicted person. By understanding what causes stress for those seniors living with dementia and how to minimize and/or prevent such situations, all persons affected by Alzheimer’s, or another dementia, can experience success in living with this challenging diagnosis.
1. Causes of Anxiety and Agitation in Seniors with Alzheimer’s and other Dementia:
- Changing residences
- Changes in senior home care arrangements
- Travel, hospitalization, houseguests, or other environmental changes
- Misinterpreted threats
- Ineffective attempts at communication
2. Preventing and Reducing Anxiety:
- Maintain calm environments – Remove noise, background distractions and other stressors. When agitation arises, move the person to a safe, quiet place or offer them an item they find soothing.
- Keep routines simple – Easy, consistent everyday routines minimize the possibility for stressors.
- Monitor comfort – Things like hunger, thirst, sleepiness, sore joints, full bladders, overheating, and skin irritations create anxiety. Be patient when desires are being expressed, as frustration can impede communication.
- Engage in exercise – Those with dementia receiving senior home care may benefit from walks, dancing to favorite songs, stretching, and other gentle physical activities.
3. How to respond:
- Verbiage- Use calm, positive statements. “You’re safe here. Things are under control. I know this is hard. I’m sorry you’re upset. May I help you? I can stay with you until you feel okay.” Keep your voice low and gentle and listen carefully to the person’s frustrations.
- Actions – Keep a non-threatening distance and slow your movements. Guide the individual through a maximum of 2 options at a time to help steer him/her on a calmer path to resolution. Help the person focus on positive events, offer exercise activities, and reduce outside stimulation. Avoid showing agitation, do not crowd the person, or make sudden, unanticipated movements.
Nightingale Homecare’s dementia care program, “Connections”, has helped numerous families and patients succeed in living with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. . We provide innovative, empathetic, and thoughtful care that has real impact in the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s. When it comes choosing a home care company for your loved one, trust the agency that trains it’s clinical professionals and caregivers in the “Alzheimer’s Whisperer” program, implemented and guided by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson, a national dementia-care expert. For expert home care based on deep understanding of those living with Dementia, call Nightingale at (602) 504-1555 or Contact Us to speak with a dementia senior homecare specialist today.
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