Reducing Anxiety in Alzheimer’s Patients
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are anxiety and agitation. This may result in part from any medications your loved one is taking or because of the negative impacts the disease causes in the brain. Nevertheless, as a family caregiver, it is important to know ways to alleviate stress in your loved one.
First it is important to understand situations that may lead to feelings of stress and agitation in your loved one. These situations can include:
- Moving to an unfamiliar place, like an assisted living facility.
- Changes in routine
- Changes in environment
- Confusion as a result of memory loss
These events are difficult to manage, but techniques exist to help prevent them:
- Keep your loved one’s surrounding environment comfortable: As stated above, changes in your loved one’s environment may contribute to confusion and agitation. So, you should try to keep things consistent in your loved one’s environment as to not promote confusion. Also provide comfortable items and experiences, like pillows and blankets or the smell of lavender—anything that promotes relaxation.
- Be aware of triggers: Sometimes distractions in the environment, like noise or bright lights, can cause your loved one to react negatively. Try to minimize these distractions.
- Activities: If your loved one is capable, try to go on walks with them or play some of their favorite music. Think of healthy ways to keep your loved one busy. Going outside is an excellent way to relieve stress since vitamin D from natural sunlight helps prevent depression and anxiety.
- Keep it easy: If you must organize certain routines for your loved one, then keep these routines simple and easy to follow. Alzheimer’s disease can make certain tasks difficult for your loved one, so it is best to be aware of how you can simplify everyday chores.
- Listen: If your loved one is able to communicate his or her discomforts, then keep their complaints in mind. Write them down and monitor them. These complaints can range from bodily discomfort to darkness in a room. Be aware of how your loved one is doing at all times. By doing so, you will be able to find solutions more quickly to solve any problems that arise.
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