Caring for an elderly relative with dementia can be difficult, especially when they are confused and agitated. There is often an inability to process reason at the moment, leaving caregivers feeling helpless about how to respond. While these moments may be challenging, understanding what causes agitation will help you address it calmly and appropriately. We'll look at possible causes, how you can respond, and when it might be time to seek professional help.
What Causes Agitation?
Since dementia is a complex condition, agitation can be caused by multiple factors. When you encounter an agitated senior family member, assess the environment for any potential triggers that could have started the episode. Common environmental triggers include:
- Loud noise
- Bright lights
- Unfamiliar faces
- New situations
Physical needs such as hunger or fatigue can also lead to distress in elder relatives with dementia, so make sure necessities are taken care of before addressing their mental state. Lastly, recognize that emotional needs may cause your loved one's confusion and agitation. Feelings like loneliness or fear can trigger these episodes more than anything else, so try to address those first when giving them comfort during challenging moments.
How Should I Respond When a Senior Loved One Is Confused and Upset?
When responding to an elderly loved one in distress, remember that less is more. Keep your speech simple, look them directly in the eye, and offer comfort with gentle words or a comforting gesture like a hug or hand-holding.
Don’t be overly talkative or use complicated language as this will likely make it harder for them to process your words, adding to the confusion. Sometimes, providing distraction through music, books, games, and television shows can offer a calm environment that encourages moments of clarity instead of more distraction.
When Should I Seek Professional Help for a Senior Loved One?
If nothing you try has an effect on their agitation, it may be time to speak with a doctor about the available treatment options. A doctor can recommend talk therapy or medications to help reduce confusion and agitation.
In-home senior care services from trained professionals, such as those offered by Senior Helpers Fairfield, can also provide much-needed comfort and relief for seniors with dementia and a break for their caregivers. In-home care services that are certified to work with seniors with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia can provide caregivers with guidance on how to handle difficult situations and keep the home environment a calm, safe, and familiar one.
Do You Need Help Caring for a Senior Loved One?
Caring for an elderly relative with dementia can be exhausting. Knowing how to respond when they are confused or agitated will help you provide them with meaningful comfort and care. Acknowledge their feelings, assess the environment, talk to a doctor, and consider in-home senior care services from experts like Senior Helpers Fairfield so your loved one can age peacefully with dignity and respect.
If you are caring for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's, contact our team. We can provide a free in-home evaluation so you can learn more about our services and how we can help your loved one age in place comfortably and safely.