When providing care for a family member with Alzheimer’s you might notice that he or she occasionally becomes aggressive or agitated. Agitation in Alzheimer’s patients can be quite common, and while it may be a difficult or even upsetting behavior, it is manageable. Here are some tips to help you reassure and redirect the senior you love if he or she becomes agitated.
Agitation in Alzheimer’s patients can cause all sorts of restlessness, from pacing to sleeplessness to outright aggression. The individual with Alzheimer’s may become combative and try to hit someone, or lash out verbally. It’s important to understand that there are a number of underlying factors that can lead to agitation, including but not limited to:
- Too little sleep or rest
- Pain, depression, or stress
- Feelings of loss or sudden changes to routine
- Too much noise or too many people in a room
- Constipation or a soiled under garment
- Being pressured into doing something that is difficult or impossible
- Feeling lonely or missing certain people
- A negative interaction of medications
The first and most essential step in managing agitation in Alzheimer’s patients is to identify the root cause of the upset. If you feel that agitation is setting in, don’t ignore the warning signs. Often, handling agitation as early as possible helps minimize problem behaviors and keeps a loved one more comfortable and calm. You can help prevent agitation by sticking to a routine each day, keeping familiar and beloved items in view or reach of the individual, and building quiet time and activity time into each day. You can also talk to a doctor about possible root causes of agitation and medication that can help.
What can you do to soothe agitation after it arises? Here are some tips:
- Reduce the level of noise, amount of clutter, or number of people in the room
- Listen to the loved one’s concerns and reassure him or her by speaking calmly. Don’t brush off whatever may be upsetting the senior; take his or her concerns seriously.
- Try to allow the senior to keep as much control in his or her situation as possible, stepping in when necessary to assist or make sure the individual isn’t hurting anyone.
- Distract the individual with his or her favorite snack, object, or activity.
- Try soothing touch, music, reading, or a gentle walk.
If you and your family would benefit from a skilled dementia caregiver to offer respite or recurring care to a loved one, reach out to the home care experts at Aware Senior Care. Our specialized dementia care services involve memory care activities, reminiscing, setting a routine that works, and patiently managing challenging behaviors like wandering or agitation. We support families and loved ones living with dementia with personalized, compassionate care, available when you need it.
To learn more about our dementia care in Cary and home care in nearby areas, reach out to us online or give us a call at (919) 436-1871. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have or set up a free in-home consultation at any time.