Brains are incredibly powerful, and we often take for granted the amazing things they do for us every day. Remembering how to get to a friend’s house, cook your favorite recipe, or other seemingly small tasks are just a few of the things our amazing brains can help us do; however, when tasks like these begin to take on a new difficulty due to memory loss, feelings of frustration, sadness, and anxiety can begin to take over. When someone you love begins to struggle with these things, it can be very difficult to stand by and watch. So here are six tips to help reduce anxiety in dementia patients Birmingham that may be helpful for you and your loved one.
ONE– Help them find their bearings.
If your loved one is struggling with the effects of memory loss and has not had an evaluation with their medical provider, this is a great first step toward a potential diagnosis. Finding out what’s going on and crafting a game plan for how to address issues is a good way to squash feelings of anxiety in dementia patients and others struggling with memory related issues. Calming stressors can help free up more brain power for other things, and having someone by your side when you deal with difficult issues can make a world of difference.
TWO– Help them create a support system.
Being open about a diagnosis with friends and family can also help reduce anxiety for dementia patients. If people know what’s going on, they may be willing to help out when needed, but they can’t help if they don’t know the situation. The more people you have to help out and offer their support, the less the stress and anxiety the person with dementia has to bear alone.
THREE– Give them time to process.
Getting a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis can feel like a very heavy thing. Give your loved one time to process the news and work through their feelings about it. Everyone is different too. Some people feel relieved when they receive a diagnosis because it’s helpful to know what’s going on. For others, the diagnosis can feel devastating. It’s important to just be there for your loved one during this time, and offer them whatever kind of support they need most. Just remember, patience is cruicial, and can help curb those feelings of anxiety.
FOUR– Show them that memory loss doesn’t define them.
Though the conditions we deal with are a part of us, they don’t define who we are as people. We are more than our struggles. Help your loved one continue to live a life full of purpose and meaning. This will help ease anxiety and ward off sadness. Work to help keep them engaged in enjoyable activities. Find activities you can do together. Have conversations that are meaningful.
FIVE– Make sure they feel needed.
It’s nice to be needed. Sometimes when we begin to age, loved ones want to do everything for us, but this can potentially have adverse effects. Though well-intentioned, going overboard with helping or caring for an individual can make them feel unnecessary. People have an innate need to feel valued, and allowing others to contribute– even with menial, everyday things, helps to nurture that need. Maybe ask your parent to help prepare dinner, or set the table. Making a contribution keeps them engaged, active, and feeling needed.
SIX– Help them to face symptoms head on.
Dealing with dementia and memory loss can come with feelings of helplessness. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients may feel like they need to rely on family members much more than they’re used to, making them feel like they can’t manage on their own. No adult person wants to feel that way. You can help your loved one deal with the anxiety that comes from this by ensuring they are well informed about their condition. Help them get the information they need from various sources, and work with their healthcare providers to craft a plan for how to manage symptoms. Being intentional about your approach to this diagnosis can have a profoundly positive impact for your loved one.
No matter what, we hope you know that at Regency, we alway work toward an even greater understanding of these memory-related conditions and their symptoms so we can provide the best care and support possible for our memory care residents. We’re here to help you and your loved one however we can.