7 Effective Methods to Ease Dementia-Related Agitation in Seniors
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be an incredibly challenging experience. It may be difficult to watch as they become increasingly confused and agitated. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods that can be used to help ease dementia-related agitation in seniors. From simple lifestyle changes to specialized therapies, these seven effective methods can help make life a little easier for those living with dementia and those who care for them. By understanding the causes of agitation, caregivers can select the best approach to helping their loved one manage their symptoms. With the right combination of therapies, seniors can live with dignity, comfort, and joy.
Causes of Agitation in Seniors with Dementia
The most common cause of agitation in seniors with dementia is the inability to distinguish between real and imagined threats. This confusion can manifest as increased agitation, agitation that is out of proportion to the situation, and aggressive behaviors like hitting, spitting, or biting. While this level of anxiety can be severe, it is possible to ease the experience with a few simple lifestyle changes. First, caregivers can encourage their loved one to stay active during the day and minimize their use of electronics at night.
Socialization and activities like reading, playing board games, or crocheting can help your loved one relax and maintain their mental faculties. Physical activity is particularly helpful for those who suffer from low energy levels. By remaining active during the day, you can encourage your loved one to eat more and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, having a partner, family member, or caretaker accompany your loved one while they are out is an excellent way to ease the experience.
Lifestyle Changes that Help Ease Agitation
While several specific therapies are designed to reduce the level of agitation in those living with dementia, it is helpful to ease the experience before engaging in these therapies. From dietary changes to increased exercise, there are a variety of ways that you can help ease your loved one’s anxiety while maintaining their dignity and quality of life. Some dietary changes are able to improve your loved one’s mood and cognitive function while others are effective at reducing anxiety. Vitamin B-6 – Vitamin B-6 can be effective in reducing levels of both anxiety and hyperarousal.
It is important to note that it is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that it can be rapidly removed from the body. To avoid side effects, it should be taken with food or taken on an empty stomach. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is needed for the creation of collagen, a structural protein that is found in the walls of the stomach, intestines, and urinary tract. As such, it has the power to reduce gingivitis and improve the condition of the gastrointestinal system.
Music therapy has been shown to be helpful in managing a number of medical conditions, including pain, stress, and anxiety. It can be used in a variety of settings, including hospitals and nursing homes. While the exact mechanisms by which music therapy works are not fully understood, it is thought to be effective at reducing stress and improving mood. To begin using music therapy, you and your loved one should choose a song that you both like and have permission to listen to.
You can then create a playlist that includes songs that you both enjoy listening to and have permission to listen to. Ideally, the songs on your playlist are ones that have a positive message or theme. In addition, the volume of the music should be low enough that you can easily communicate with your loved one. Together, you can create a playlist that offers a soothing experience that can help ease your loved one’s anxiety.
While it can be difficult to manage the level of anxiety experienced by those living with dementia, it is possible to ease the experience. By engaging in pet therapy, you can provide your loved one with companionship and an experience of peace and tranquility. When choosing a pet for therapy, it is important to select one that your loved one is comfortable interacting with. Additionally, the pet should be small enough to remain stationary while they are seated. While it may be tempting to choose a pet that is cuddly and soft, it is better to go with a pet that is slightly rougher. By selecting a slightly tougher pet, your loved one will be able to remain seated while still managing to interact with their pet.
To begin using pet therapy, you and your loved one should choose a book that has a positive message or theme. Ideally, the book should have little text, making it easier for your loved one to focus on the story and illustrations. Next, you and your loved one should pick a spot in the room that offers a view of the entire space, but is not a focal point. During the day, this spot is typically not used, offering a blank canvas for your loved one to enjoy pet therapy. At night, the spot should be easily accessible but not a focal point, making it easy to find.
Massage and Aromatherapy
The benefits of massage extend far beyond the physical realm. By improving blood flow throughout the body, massage is able to improve your overall health. Additionally, by reducing stress, massage can ease the experience of anxiety. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that you can ease your loved one’s anxiety with a massage. You can lightly massage your loved one’s hands and feet or apply massage oil to your loved one’s shoulders or back. You can also create a homemade massage oil by mixing Epsom salts and almond oil. Aromatherapy can be used to ease your loved one’s anxiety by creating a relaxing atmosphere. Many oils can be used to create a calm, soothing atmosphere, including lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Many seniors in Ontario who are experiencing symptoms of dementia are benefiting from home care services that focus on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and improving the quality of life for these seniors. In addition to individual and group therapy, there are a variety of online resources available for those living with dementia, as well as their caregivers, to help manage the level of agitation and provide support. These resources include e-books and online courses that can be accessed from the comfort of one’s own home, making them a convenient and accessible option for seniors receiving home care in Ontario.
While many therapies are designed to address the level of anxiety experienced, there are a few that are designed to reduce the damaging effects of the disease. For example, ketamine has been shown to reduce the levels of glutamate in the brain and decrease levels of oxidative stress. By reducing levels of glutamate, ketamine is able to reduce the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Additionally, it has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce levels of depression.
While ketamine has shown promise in reducing the level of agitation experienced by seniors with dementia, it is important to note that it has not been thoroughly studied. To prevent the onset of symptoms early on, it is recommended that you begin a daily regimen of vitamin B-6 supplementation. Additionally, you can increase your daily intake of vitamin C and gingivitis. Once your loved one begins to show signs of dementia, you can begin using a number of effective therapies.
The experience of dementia is challenging for all those who live with it, but those living with dementia can be particularly vulnerable. As their ability to think and process information is compromised, they are more likely to experience feelings of fear, anger, and anxiety. The good news is that there are many ways that you can help ease the experience of dementia. By choosing the right therapies, you can help your loved one to live with dignity, comfort, and joy.