Healthcare personnel in Alzheimer's care centers are highly skilled and trained in easing anxiety in their patients. Anxiety is common in those with dementia and cognitive decline. While your loved one may not exhibit anxious behaviors at the onset of his or her Alzheimer's disease, as the condition progresses, anxiety, agitation, and aggressive behavior may increase. Here are some interventions the Alzheimer's care center staff may implement to keep your loved one calm and anxiety-free.
Anxiety in Alzheimer's patients may be caused by a number of different factors, including the inability to express one's needs, loneliness, social isolation, and frustration over memory loss. Boredom, separation from family and friends, and retirement may also play roles in the development of anxiety in Alzheimer's patients.
The dementia care staff at the memory care facility will encourage your loved one to be more social by encouraging him or her to eat meals in the community dining room and by engaging the individual in activities with other residents of the care facility. These activities may include arts and crafts, trivia games, exercise classes, and cooking classes. When people with dementia enjoy socializing with their peers, they may be less likely to become anxious, lonely, sad, and isolated.
Many memory care facilities "employ" resident dogs or cats to be "goodwill" ambassadors to the residents. It is thought that contact with pets helps ease anxiety in Alzheimer's patients, as well as decreasing episodes of agitation and depression.
Pets are non-judgmental and offer unconditional love, and in addition to this, pet exposure may also help dementia patients sleep better and enjoy a more robust appetite as a result of anxiety reduction. Pet therapy may be especially beneficial to those Alzheimer's patients who miss their pets after moving from their homes into a nursing home or Alzheimer's care facility.
If your loved one is physically and mentally able, the staff may allow the individual to participate in the animal's care. This helps gives dementia patients a purpose, makes them feel needed, and helps promote exercise and physical fitness.
If you want to learn more about anxiety-reducing interventions, talk to the nursing supervisor or another member of the administrative staff at the Alzheimer's care center. If conservative measures fail to decrease anxiety, your loved one's physician can recommend a short-term course of antianxiety or antidepressant medications to help the individual better cope with his or her emotions.