Your Essential Guide to Handling Problems with Agitation in Someone with Dementia
One of the most common behaviours associated with dementia is agitation. When you have a family member with dementia, there may be times when they are agitated for seemingly no reason. Additionally, agitation can take on different forms – it can come in its most common form, which is irritability, but it can also come as sleeplessness and even physical or verbal aggression. In many cases, this behaviour can become worse as the disease develops. The problem with agitation is that many things can trigger it, and these include fear, changes in environment, and even simple tiredness or fatigue. Agitation can also be triggered when the person feels that they are no longer in control. So how can you deal with agitation in someone with dementia? Here’s your essential guide.
- The first way you can try to handle problems with agitation is by tackling the environment. Reduce a room’s noise as well as clutter and try to limit the number of visitors to one or two individuals; too many people can also trigger agitation.
- It would also be best to maintain a set routine. Structure is important to someone with dementia, so try keeping familiar furniture and objects in the same place. Place significant photographs around a room; they offer a feeling of security and may invoke good memories as well.
- Whenever possible, try to reduce the person’s intake of caffeine and sugar as well as other types of food which may cause an increase in energy. If you want to be able to take stock of what they are consuming, proper live in care can be a big help. There are many professional live in carers from reliable agencies who are fully equipped to handle dementia patients.
- Create a soothing environment. If you feel that your loved one is becoming agitated, play some soothing or calming music, read to them, or touch them gently. You can also suggest a nice walk to the park. Make your voice and tone calm and reassuring and avoid restraining or physically controlling them when they are agitated.
- It is also best to keep potentially dangerous items well out of their reach, and this includes knives, paper cutters, tools such as hammers, and the like.
- Help them maintain more of their dignity by allowing them to do things by themselves, such as eat by themselves (even if they make a mess) or dress themselves. Support their need for independence; this goes a long way.
- One of the best things you can do for your loved one, especially in the early stages of their condition, is to acknowledge their feelings and anger at the situation. Let them know you understand them and tell them you are there to support and care for them all the way.