Watching a loved one battle their illness is an emotionally difficult experience, we understand. Unfortunately, things such as altered behaviour and personality changes are expected commonalities with aging, particularly among those struggling with dementia symptoms such as deteriorating thinking skills and a decline in memory. A previously cheerful and laid-back individual may begin to display signs of depression and anxiety, including unusually emotional outbursts, confusion, restlessness, and even aggression. It’s important to stay sensitive, and deal with such behaviour delicately and with patience.
Understanding the Cause
There exist multiple triggers for agitation in dementia patients, most of which are miscommunicated to the caretaker. These include physical health factors – such as fatigue, discomfort, and pain – as well as mental struggles surrounding the illness. Patients often resort to defensive behaviours in coping with feelings of failure and humiliation. Lacking the self-sufficiency to take on regular daily tasks can be highly distressing, especially when coupled with trouble recognizing loved ones and previously familiar places. Distinguishing between possible triggers for agitation in dementia patients is absolutely vital – without this step, it is impossible to determine the appropriate course of action that must be taken to relieve your struggling loved one of their pain and frustration.
Preventing Agitation in Dementia Patients
Firstly, it is important to regularly visit a medical professional for examination, to ensure that no physical complications or medication side effects are gone unnoticed. Another preventative measure of agitation in dementia patients is removing stressors and fostering a calm and comfortable environment for the affected individual. This can be achieved through eliminating noise and other triggers, as well as checking for pain and discomfort including infection or irritation. It is also key that opportunities for physical exercise are presented to the patient, like going for walks, dancing, gardening, and other such activities. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, it is essential to remind your loved one of happier times through recreating fond memories. Redirection is a reliable technique to soothing agitation in dementia patients, and is proven highly effective in its therapeutic results. Stimulating the mind with familiar surroundings and reminders of significant, joyous past events eases the process of acclimatizing to life with dementia. Relearning past skills or participating in previously enjoyed activities is also helpful to redirection. For example, if your loved one was once a painter, dedicate a space in his or her home in which they can practice their art when confusion and frustration surface. Not only will this relieve agitation, but provide the patient with a sense of purpose and engagement as well.
Dealing with Agitation in Dementia Patients
Unfortunately, proactivity does not always work. If you’ve taken all the suggested preventative measures and your loved one still displays signs of agitation, concentrate on being effectively reactive. Don’t blame yourself – this is completely normal, and can be resolved if handled cautiously and tactfully.
Remember to stay calm, and listen to the individual’s frustration. Be wary of your tone and volume, and ensure that you are including phrases of reassurance in the conversation to remind your loved ones that they are safe, and you will stay by their side until they feel better.
As the best Senior Home Health Care caregiver in Toronto, Wedway HealthCare would love to help you out. If you are looking for further advising, don’t hesitate to reach us at 1-(888)-425-4850. A qualified professional will be happy to assist you.