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How Do You Help Ease Your Mom's Agitation When She Has Alzheimer's?

Posted: 11/28/2018 7:49 AM by Interim HealthCare
Agitation and Alzheimer's go hand in hand. When your mom reaches this stage, it becomes overwhelming. She may lash out at you verbally or physically. You may find her refusing to do things or locking herself in a room.
 
There are ways to ease agitation. You may need to try different methods before finding one that works but be patient. Here are some methods that have worked for family members who provide home care to a person with Alzheimer's.
 
Determine Her Triggers
 
You may find your mom has certain triggers that cause her to become agitated. She might be trying to do something on her own, but someone jumps in to help her. It will take practice, but you need to learn how to determine when she wants help and when she wants to be left on her own.
 
Certain situations may agitate her. Doctor appointments are a common one. Instead of telling her she has an appointment, tell her you're going out shopping or to get lunch. Stop at the doctor's on the way and tell her it's a really quick trip so that you can ask some questions. Let her know you're uncomfortable going on your own and need her support.
 
Note the Times of Day When the Agitation Peaks
 
Sundowning is common in the latter stages of Alzheimer's. You may find there are specific times of day when your mom is agitated. It's often before the sun rises or after it sets. If you find this is the case, make sure lights are turned on about half an hour before the lighting in a room starts to dim.
 
Use timers to control when lights turn on and off. You may need to turn lights on at 3:30 p.m. and off after the sunrise. Switch the times as needed to match the seasons. When days are at their longest, you won't need to turn on lights as early.
 
Talk to the Doctor
 
There are medications that can help with agitation. Talk to the doctor about finding a medication that works for your mom. You may need to adjust dosages, but eventually, you'll find the right medication and dosage to help her avoid agitation during the day or at night when she should be sleeping.
 
Make sure your mom's agitation is not being enhanced by your own frustrations. Take breaks. If you're her main caregiver, you need to arrange respite care. Go out with friends or spend a night all by yourself.

Learn more about respite care

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