Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This too shall pass--dementia related agitation and rage.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine DeSaint-Exupery
It is not uncommon for individuals suffering rom dementia to become agitated and often fly into fits of rage without warning. Remember, this too shall pass.
There are a number of medications which may help keep agitation and rage to a minimum, and these are certainly indicated for some individuals. However, there are many things you, as a caregiver, might do to help your loved ones remain calm.
First, ensure that you remain calm and do not take anything your elderly loved ones say as a personal attack on you. Their agitation and/or rage is not about you!
Second, lower your voice when attempting to soothe agitated individuals, and ensure that you are coming from a place of love. The feeling you communicate is far more important than the words you speak.
Third, always be reassuring. Whatever their fears are--reassure them that everything will be alright and that you will stay with them.
Fourth, ensure that they are not cold. A nice blanket aroung their shoulders or a lap guilt may help them to feel more secure. Also, offer them their favorite beverage or food.
Fifth, if possible, have them take several deep breaths with you. Oxygen is more calming than Valium!
You might also try distracting them very much like you would a child that is tantruming. Have photo albums nearby and try to get them to look at old photos with you and talk about times past.
If your loved one experiences sundowning, be prepared and get a head start each afternoon before their agitation gets out of control.
A few drops of lavender oil on their collar or a tiny drop between their upper lip and nose may help to keep them calm. Also, soft, soothing music may be helpful for them and for you!
Sandra -- Caregiver Guru for the Caregiver Generation