Anxiety is all too common in dementia and other care, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the most common symptoms of anxiety, like feelings of fear, embarrassment or guilt and how they can affect your loved one. We’ll also discuss some coping mechanisms that you can use on their own or together with professional help to manage these feelings.
Table of Contents
Introduction To Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It can be mild or severe, and it can last for a short time or a long time. Many people with anxiety have physical symptoms, such as a fast heart rate, sweating, and dizziness. Anxiety can also make it hard to concentrate or sleep.
For people with dementia, anxiety can be caused by changes in their environment or health condition, by fears of being alone or losing control, or by memories of past trauma. Treating anxiety in dementia is very important as it can make symptoms worse and can lead to depression and social isolation.
There are many ways to cope with anxiety. Some people find that relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga help them to relax. Others find that talking to a friend or therapist about their worries helps them to feel better. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for anxiety that can help people to change the way they think about and respond to their anxiety.
Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety is a common emotion experienced by people with dementia and their caregivers. It can manifest itself in many different ways, including physical, behavioral, and emotional symptoms.
Physical signs of anxiety may include increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, or feeling tense or restless. Behavioral changes associated with anxiety can include pacing, fidgeting, avoidance of eye contact, or withdrawing from social interactions. Emotionally, people with anxiety may feel fearfulness, nervousness, or a sense of dread.
If you notice any of these changes in your loved one with dementia, it’s important to talk to their doctor about possible causes and treatment options. There are many effective ways to manage anxiety, so don’t hesitate to seek help if needed.
Treating Anxiety in Dementia and Other Care
The following is a list of tips for treating anxiety in dementia and other care:
- Be patient and understanding. The individual with dementia may not be able to understand what is happening or why they are feeling anxious. It is important to be patient and try to explain things in a way that they can understand.
- Try to provide a calm and supportive environment. This may include reducing noise and stimulation, providing reassurance, and offering support and assistance with activities of daily living.
- Encourage positive social interactions. Spending time with friends or loved ones can help reduce anxiety levels. Participating in activities such as music therapy or reminiscence therapy can also be beneficial.
- Promote physical activity and exercise. Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins (the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals). Exercise should be tailored to the individual’s abilities and interests.
- Help the individual relax through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery, or massage therapy.
- Use medication cautiously and only as prescribed by a physician. Medications used to treat anxiety can have side effects, including sedation, which can worsen cognitive function in people with dementia.
Anxiety is a common issue for people living with dementia and their caregivers. It can be tough to cope with, but there are some things that can help. First, it’s important to understand what might be causing the anxiety and then try to address those issues. If possible, provide a calm and safe environment for the person with dementia, and offer support and reassurance. Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well; caregiver burnout is real and can make anxiety worse.