How to Respond to Agitation and Anxiety
Posted July 15, 2014The following tips are provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. ©2013 Alzheimer's Association, reused with permission.A person with Alzheimer's may feel anxious or agitated. He or she may become restless, causing a need to move around or pace, or become upset in certain places or when focused on specific details.
- Listen to the frustration. Find out what may be causing the agitation, and try to understand.
- Provide reassurance. Use calming phrases such as: "You're safe here;" "I'm sorry that you are upset;" and "I will stay until you feel better." Let the person know you are there.
- Involve the person in activities. Try using art, music or other activities to help engage the person and divert attention away from the anxiety.
- Modify the environment. Decrease noise and distractions, or relocate.
- Find outlets for the person’s energy. The person may be looking for something to do. Take a walk or go for a car ride.
- Check yourself. Do not raise your voice, show alarm or offense, or corner, crowd, restrain, criticize, ignore or argue with the person. Take care not to make sudden movements out of the person's view.
- See the doctor. See the person with dementia's primary care physician to rule out any physical causes or medication-related side effects.
- Share your experience with others. Join ALZConnected, the Alzheimer's Association online support community and message boards, and share what response strategies have worked for you and get more ideas from other caregivers.
Source: Alzheimer's Association
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