One of the toughest things to deal with as a caregiver in a nursing home is to give the proper care for the elderly suffering dementia. This cognitive disorder is something not to take lightly as it can make things complicated especially if one is not sensitive to the special needs of these elderly patients.
Among the symptoms of dementia is anxiety. These symptoms are often manifested in a lot of mannerisms which may vary from person to person. Among these would include restlessness (which often leads them to wandering off far too often) or agitation (which has the person getting angry or upset for no absolute reason or for the most trivial reasons).
You might be wondering on what makes a senior agitated or even anxious for that matter. There is no one shot answer to that question however there are different possible causes on why they are agitated. However, most of the time the reason why elderly with dementia are anxious is because their surroundings are new to them. This isn’t strange for elderly who have just moved in or had just recently transferred to a new nursing home much more if they have been reassigned with a new caregiver. Change can be a scary thing for seniors with dementia and caregivers should be sensitive enough that in this case they have to be eased in to new things even if its something trivial as a new schedule or food. Anxiety can also be caused by the presence of strangers, much like how babies can get stranger’s anxiety, and out of fatigue.
Though there is no sure fire way on how to completely deal with agitation here are some ways that you can help reduce violent or unruly behaviour in result to agitation.
One way is to create a calming environment for the elderly and that would include moving them to a more serene and quite environment away from any potential or present stressors.
If they have a security object like a blanket or a toy, it would be of immense help to them. Most of all, allow them to have their space and privacy while they adjust to the change around them.
Another way to help them relax is take away or reduce environmental noise that may prove to be agitating such as glare and traffic noise, even the buzzing of television may be considered as such.
Always check if they are comfortable. This would include checking if they feel well, have eaten, and have been drinking plenty of water. Always remember that senior mays not feel any thirst or any pangs but may get anxious if they don’t. Much like infants, they tend to even get cranky if they are feverish so always check for signs of discomfort.
Don’t give them overly complicated daily routines, keep it short and sweet. Remember that they do not have the same body capability as a young person and would often need simpler activities such as walking and reading.
Give them positive outlets to let out their negative and restless energies. Because they cannot do the same things they can do when they were younger, elderly tend to get restless and eventually become anxious. It is good to compensate that with activities that will keep them preoccupied while at the same time channelling that extra pent up energy into something positive and worthwhile like crafts and hobbies.