Dementia and Anxiety go hand in hand. These are common symptoms that someone with dementia may experience. And if you are a family member caring for someone with dementia you may not know what to do. This, in turn, may cause you to become anxious. And now the vicious cycle begins. The more upset Mom gets the more upset you become. How do you break this dementia and anxiety cycle?
Here are 3 steps our caregivers use that work. Try these techniques to calm someone with dementia and anxiety.
Step # 1- Adjust the environment.
Are there noises that may be distracting? Turn off the TV and ask others in the house to please lower their voices. Or you may consider moving into a quiet room. A quiet room for someone with dementia may include sounds, smells, and other sensory objects. And these can help to calm your loved one.
Music that your loved one likes can help them to relax. Also, aromatherapy has been found to be helpful with both dementia and anxiety that often is part of dementia. While studies are limited on aromatherapy, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has a few studies showing it may be effective.
“I keep some nice massage cream in the room for mom. And I also have bottles of Lavender, Rosemary, Bergamot and Ginger. Furthermore, I let mom smell each one and tell me which one she would like to use. This helps her to feel in control. I think that is important. Once she chooses an oil, I add a few drops to some of the cream. And then I gently massage her hands and arms. I can felt the anxiety melting away and her dementia behaviors calm down. This usually works for us.” Carol- Adult daughter
If you do not have a place like this in your home consider setting one up. This is especially helpful if there are a lot of people in the house at one time. Outside noises and distractions can be confusing for someone with dementia. This can lead to anxiety and agitation.
Step # 2- Find Activities to Distract
You may go for a walk or a drive through the neighborhood. Or you could also ask the person if they can help you with a task. It could be to look for something, fold clothes or file some paperwork. Distracting with an activity can help calm dementia and anxiety issues.
Maybe it could be “Hey let’s go make an ice cream sundae?” Anything that will get their mind off of what is bothering them will help.
Mom used to be a secretary. She always wanted to “work”. So I started giving her papers to file. I set up a whole drawer in the file cabinet just for her to use. Each night I would take the papers out so she could “file’ them again the next day. She felt useful. Everyone needs a purpose. ~ Bill, Caregiver Son
Step #3 – Calm, Listen and Reassure
Everyone wants to know that others are listening. A dementia patient is no different. Pay attention to your tone of voice and make sure that you have a smiling and reassuring face. Your loved one may not understand everything you say to them. But they will pick up on all of your non-verbal clues. And if you are anxious and upset, they will be also. Anxiety and dementia go hand in hand. But your calming presence can change that.
If you find that you are often getting short-tempered with your loved one it is time to reach out for help. Being a good caregiver means you are aware of your limitations. A good caregiver doesn’t have to do all of the caring by themselves. They simply need to make the best choices for the one they love.
After all, doesn’t your loved one deserve the best you possible? Don’t they deserve to have a happy and well-rested caregiver? By allowing someone else to take care of the daily chores you can spend your time connecting with and just loving on the dementia person you love.
Come into Sycamore Creek Ranch today to just have a look around. We would love to talk to you and let you see our philosophy of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Set up a time to take a tour with us. 832.791.1577