Alzheimer’s Disease – Handling Agitation

Some of the greatest challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia are the behavior changes that often occur. One of the most challenging behaviors is the agitation that may come along with dementia.  “Agitation” refers to a range of behaviors associated with dementia, including irritability, sleeplessness, and verbal or physical aggression. Often these types of behavior problems progress with the stages of dementia, from mild to more severe. Agitation may be triggered by a variety of things, including environmental factors, fear, and fatigue. Most often, agitation is triggered when the person experiences “control” being taken from him. Some suggestions to reduce the incidence of agitation include:

  • Maintain structure-
    • Keep the same routines.
    • Keep household objects and furniture in the same places.
    • Display family photographs.
  • Soothing or familiar music
    • Music has a healing power, a way to reawaken those that seem to be disconnected.
    • Learn the types of music that calm them.
  • Distract- 
    • Draw attention to an object or activity.
    • Do not confront or challenge the person. 
  • Allow the person to do as much for themselves as possible.
  • Reduce noise, clutter, or the number of persons in the room.
  • Reduce caffeine intake, sugar, and junk food.