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Strategies to Reduce Anxiety with Dementia

By Dian Brannen, 8:00 am on

Not much is known about why some seniors with dementia experience increased anxiety – often expressed through agitation, angry outbursts, or unfounded fears. However, by taking some time to experiment with different strategies, family caregivers can often help reduce or minimize bouts of anxiety associated with dementia. Here are a few strategies to consider, presented by the trusted Lehigh Valley dementia caregivers from Home Care Assistance.

Stick to Regular Routines

Whether it’s showering and dressing before breakfast or going for a walk after dinner, try and stick to the same routine as much as possible. This familiarity can help a person with dementia keep track of their day. If you utilize hourly care in the Lehigh Valley from a professional caregiver or another family member, make sure he or she knows your loved one’s schedule to promote comfort and feelings of security.

Reduce Possible Environmental Triggers

A loud television or being in a room with a lot of people coming and going may result in confusion and increased anxiety. When unexpected noises or events do happen (fire alarm going off, outside traffic noise), offer comfort and reassurance until the distraction is over.

Don’t Argue Irrational Points

Some people with dementia-related conditions may have irrational fears or concerns that don’t make any sense to you. Avoid the temptation to insist that their fears are unfounded – even though they may be – or correct their assertions. If you feel uncomfortable with what they’re saying, politely change the conversation or direct them to another activity that can serve as a distraction.

Check for Physical Discomfort

Anxiety can also be caused by physical discomfort or a specific need that a person with dementia may not be able to clearly articulate. If anxiety or discomfort suddenly appears for no apparent reason, ask you’re your loved one if he or she is hungry, thirsty, or has to use the bathroom. If you suspect an infection or see a rash, consult their doctor.

Also Consider

  • Using names and other context clues when having a conversation
  • Keeping your voice at a soothing level
  • Relocating to a different room if there’s too much sunlight or outside noise
  • Reassuring the person that you’ll be there for them (if you’re in a hurry or anxious yourself, try not to show it)
  • Engaging in enjoyable (and familiar) activities (i.e., going for a walk together, gardening)

For other dementia care tips, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide senior home care in the Lehigh Valley that comes backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and we never require our clients to sign a long-term contract. Call 484-350-3874 to request your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn more about hourly and live-in dementia care.