About 40 percent of Alzheimer’s patients experience significant anxiety, according to the National Library of Medicine. The problem tends to be worse for those in the early stage of the disease, as they understand what is happening to them and that the impairment will worsen. In addition, certain brain changes in these individuals are recognized as being associated with anxiety. Unfortunately, chronic anxiety is linked to faster progression of the disease. Anyone who wants to learn more may visit the website of a memory care community.
Factors Related to Anxiety
When a person has lost some cognitive ability, remembering and simply thinking become more difficult. That alone can provoke anxiety. Patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia often quickly become skilled at pretending they remember people and information when they actually don’t. This ongoing effort at pretense also is unnerving since the individual can never be sure how effective it is.
Boosting Feelings of Security
Helping residents feel more secure prevents and eases anxiety. Family members can make sure their loved one feels secure after moving in by bringing along favorite belongings for the room or apartment. That might include a crocheted Afghan, sports team memorabilia, or a travel mug with an organization’s emblem.
Reading to the memory care resident may be soothing, as can playing some of the person’s favorite music. The resident may benefit from having the door closed if there is too much noise in the hallway or from other rooms. Getting exercise burns off excess energy that can keep someone feeling agitated. Taking part in a purposeful activity also has a calming effect. This could be anything from flower arranging to assembling jigsaw puzzles.
Staff members focus on each person’s individual interests and abilities, so the activities are always suitable. Families of dementia patients may be especially intrigued by memory care communities offering parallel programming. Residents participate in a variety of activities in the same room. They now have the opportunity to socialize while doing something fun and purposeful that fits their unique situation. Not everyone may be able to understand the rules of a particular game, for instance. Those residents could play something simpler while still joining in.
A Safe Environment
Living in a memory care community keeps people with cognitive impairment safer compared with many other living arrangements. Subtle monitoring devices make sure nobody wanders out of the building and gets lost. Nurse aides are ready to help residents affected by a mental state known as sundowning. These individuals become restless, irritable and even agitated as dusk sets in.
The compassionate, friendly staff at a memory care community can help a great deal to ease a dementia patient’s anxiety. The community members know they can count on nurse aides and other staff members for assistance as needed, allowing them to feel reassured. They appreciate the companionship of the workers and other residents, enjoying friendly chats and various activities. The emotional support and calming behavior management strategies provided by nurse aides and other employees make each resident’s life easier.