It’s very common for an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to experience anxiety and agitation. Alzheimer’s disease causes steady cognitive decline which leads to memory loss and severe deterioration of cognitive abilities.
It’s natural for a person to feel agitated when they aren’t able to make sense of what’s around them. They don’t recognize faces, they lose the sense of self and because they can’t remember day-to-day activities they become completely reliant on others. Amongst all their confusion, Alzheimer’s patients also struggle with distrust.
Causes Of Anxiety And Agitation Amongst Alzheimer’s Patients:
- Depression, Stress And Pain: Alzheimer’s patients have a tough time determining what they want and need. They struggle to string words together to adequately communicate with others which leads to depression and anguish.
- Lack Of Rest And Sleep: Lack of rest and sleep makes everyone uncomfortable; Alzheimer’s patients are no different.
- Constipation: Certain medication can cause patients to become constipated.
- Being Forced To Do Something They Don’t Want: Alzheimer’s patients become uncomfortable with certain activities such as bathing, getting dressed, etc.
- Soiled Underwear/Diaper: Soiled underwear/diapers make patients terribly uncomfortable.
- Too Much Noise: Alzheimer’s patients find it challenging to focus and excessive noise makes it worse.
- Change Of Setting: Alzheimer’s patients don’t handle change very well.
Handling Anxiety and Agitation In Patients:
As difficult as it may be to deal with an agitated patient, caregivers will have to show great empathy.
Here are some ways you can soothe agitated Alzheimer’s patients:
- Reassure Them: Speak gently and listen to what they are trying to say. They need to know they are being heard.
- Let Them Feel Like They Are In Control: Alzheimer’s patients can get stubborn so it helps when you allow them to take as much charge of their lives as possible.
- Stick To A Routine: Since they don’t do well with change, it helps if you stick to a daily routine.
- Keep Them In A Familiar Environment: Avoid changing locations, keep familiar objects and photographs around them.
- Distract Them With Activities: Activities like walking, listening to music, reading always help calm Alzheimer’s patients.
The Global Caregiver is committed to training, counseling and comforting caregivers from around the world. We are very well-aware of the complex situations you’ll come across as a caregiver of the elderly and here to help in any way we can.