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6 Ways to Calm Agitation in an Aging Parent with Alzheimer’s

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Agitation is a common behavioral symptom of Alzheimer’s disease that can arise at any time of the day or night. When your aging loved one gets upset, try using one of these strategies to help your parent calm down.

1. Remove the Source of Irritation

Your loved one may react to something in the environment that causes pain or confusion. For instance, agitation may be spurred by a noisy environment, and simply turning off the television or moving away from a crowd may be all it takes to calm your parent. Keep in mind the source of irritation could also be physical. A cold drink to soothe a sore throat or a trip to the bathroom might be all that’s needed. 

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care are often quite adept at discovering the source of a senior’s agitation. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elder care, Palm Desert, CA, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.

2. Give Your Parent a Soothing Hand Massage

Touching your parent creates an instant reminder of your connection. Try using lotion that is scented lightly with lavender to increase the calm-inducing effects. This strategy is also simple enough that you can use it anywhere, which is ideal if your loved one gets agitated in a place where you may not be able to just get up and leave.

3. Invite Someone Else to Step in for a Moment

Your mindset influences your loved one’s mindset. If your parent becomes agitated, it’s normal to find yourself feeling stressed. When this happens, invite another caregiver to take over so you have time to calm down. Having someone new to talk to also serves as a distraction for your loved one’s frustration. 

A compassionate professional caregiver could be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. Seniors with Alzheimer’s have much to gain when their families opt for professional Alzheimer’s care. Palm Desert families can rely on compassionate and dedicated caregivers to help their elderly loved ones manage the various challenges of Alzheimer’s disease so they can enjoy a higher quality of life.

4. Move to a Completely New Activity

Seniors with Alzheimer’s sometimes get bored or frustrated with activities throughout the day. Try to figure out what your loved one doesn’t like about what you’re doing at the moment, and do something that doesn’t include the activity. For instance, if your parent is feeling confused and doesn’t want to play a board game, listening to an audiobook instead may provide a sense of calm.

5. Use Your Parent’s Favorite Method of Relaxation

Start a running list of what helps your loved one relax so you can add it to your caregiver tool kit. For instance, a specific song may soothe your loved one anytime he or she is agitated. Alternatively, your parent may enjoy folding towels or feeling water run over his or her hands. Once you hit upon something that works, use it when challenges arise so it becomes a signal that it’s time to relax.

6. Retrace Your Steps

Your loved one uses routines to understand the things that happen throughout the day. If your parent seems to get upset out of nowhere, try to think about what part of your routine may have changed. For instance, if breakfast usually comes before dressing, your parent may be agitated if you helped him or her get dressed for the day before eating. To your loved one, this change makes it seem like he or she may not eat. Identifying where things went wrong gives you the starting point for making it all right.

When seniors with Alzheimer’s get agitated, family caregivers can often discover the cause and provide calming reassurance if they follow the above tips. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Palm Desert Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (760) 345-0001.