Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that affects more than 5 million Americans, with most sufferers over the age of 65. Far from simply destroying a person's memory, it can completely change their personality. A common occurrence in those with Alzheimer's is agitation, sometimes multiple bouts every day. If this is the case with the senior loved one in your care, here are some suggestions on how to cope.
Be empathetic. Imagine your world being turned upside down, but others telling you it hasn't. That's pretty much what your loved one is going through many times. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you react with love and kindness, even if their frustration seems to be directed at you personally.
Check their personal comfort level. Are they in pain? Hungry? Maybe they have to go to the bathroom. Or perhaps the room temperature is uncomfortable. The agitation might be the result of some physical distress that can be easily resolved. A person with Alzheimer's, however, might forget to or be unable to tell you.
Provide an outlet for energy. It's possible they're just restless. If they're physically able, engage them in some sort of activity. Consider going for a walk, gardening, or even dancing. A car ride could also help.
If you're concerned about the agitation, contact your loved one's physician. They can explore other possible causes or give you further suggestions.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!