While lighthearted fear goes hand-in-hand with the Halloween season, for a senior with dementia, it’s no laughing matter. Fear and anxiety are common in dementia, and difficult for family members to help manage. Fearfulness in dementia can be the result of:
- A recent move to a new living environment
- Guests in the home
- A hospitalization
- A new caregiver
- Simply trying to maneuver through a world that feels unfamiliar and disorienting
The dementia care experts at Nightingale Homecare offer the following helpful tips if a senior you love is feeling fearful:
- First, talk with the senior’s primary care physician to rule out any medication side effects or other health-related reasons for heightened anxiety.
- Ensure the home environment is as stress-free and calming as possible, following soothing routines and providing the senior with items that provide comfort (such as a favorite blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, etc.).
- Reduce distractions, such as keeping the TV turned off or at a low volume, and avoiding news programs or other shows that may contain disturbing scenes.
- Help the senior stay physically active through taking walks, dancing, exercising, or engaging in plenty of enjoyable activities together.
- Listen to the senior’s concerns respectfully and without judgment. Ask for permission to help and offer reassurances; i.e., “Is it OK if I help you? I am right here with you and you are safe.”
It’s important to realize that your own expression of emotions and tone of voice can either comfort or exacerbate the anxiety the senior is feeling, so maintaining a calm, controlled voice, using slow, deliberate motions without rushing or expressing alarm, anger, or criticism can go a long way towards helping the senior relax.
It’s also a great idea to surround yourself with the support you need to provide the best care for your loved one while ensuring plenty of time for your own self-care. Find a local (or online) Alzheimer’s support group, and partner with Nightingale Homecare, the top providers of dementia care in Phoenix (and throughout the surrounding areas). Our dementia care team is highly skilled and experienced in effectively diffusing difficult behaviors in dementia, and are happy to provide reliable, trusted respite care that allows family caregivers the chance to step away, rest and recharge.
Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 and request a free in-home consultation to share with us the challenges and concerns your loved one is facing, and to let us share with you how we can help with professional, personalized home care services.