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How can caregivers help ease agitation in Alzheimer’s patients?

People who have Alzheimer’s disease often suffer from bouts of agitation. Agitation encompasses a set of behaviors where a patient may get easily upset, anxious or restless.

These symptoms may disrupt the patient’s sleep cycle and cause them to become aggressive. Fortunately, there are some tactics that can help ease agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.

What causes agitation in the first place?

According to WebMD, a change in routine is the most likely culprit when it comes to agitation in Alzheimer’s patients. This can include a change in their surroundings or even the caretakers they are familiar with. Alzheimer’s patients often deal with feelings of fear and confusion, and a change of routine can exasperate these emotions.

Additionally, any discomfort may bring about an agitated state. An infection or medical problem, for example, can cause a patient to become agitated.

What can I do to help?

You may be able to help lessen the symptoms by helping to put the patient at ease. Some of the following methods may be useful at helping to lessen the patient’s agitation:

  • Try to alleviate any physical reasons for agitation such as hunger, thirst, uncomfortable temperatures or needing to use the bathroom.
  • Create a calming space for your patient and decrease external stimuli by turning off the television and removing clutter.
  • Utilize soft lighting at night to help alleviate fear or confusion they may feel
  • If your patient is mobile, help them get exercise by walking with them or participating in an activity that he or she enjoys.
  • If necessary, ensure that they receive medical care for unaddressed problems.

It is important to remember to keep your emotions under control. If you are easily frustrated by the situation, take some time to calm down. Taking your frustrations out on a patient is never okay and may cross the line into abuse.

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