Agitation from Alzheimer’s can occur at any moment with little warning. While you may start to get some of the warning signs, there are no guarantees. Here’s what to do when your elderly mom is having or about to have a meltdown.
Learn Her Triggers
Get to know the triggers that lead to your mom’s agitation. In public situations, too much noise and crowded environments may lead to her agitation. If that’s the case, get her outside and away from the noise. Take a walk while she calms down and then return. If that doesn’t work, get your meal packaged to go, pay the bill, and go home.
At home, it can be as simple as her frustration with not knowing what word to say or how to do something she used to do with ease. You may find switching to another activity works in helping ease agitation. She may also feed off your own stress, so try to always remain cool and composed when you’re caring for her.
Make Sure She’s Not in Pain
When Alzheimer’s progresses, your mom may have a hard time verbalizing what’s bothering her. She may not be able to tell you she’s in pain. Rule out pain as a factor. You may need to check her body for bruises, swelling, or open sores. If there’s nothing obvious, try to find out if she has a headache, upset stomach, or another issue that could be causing pain.
When your mom is in meltdown mode, you need to stay calm. You can’t yell. She won’t understand why you’re yelling. In a calm voice, diffuse the situation if you can. If that’s not working, walk into another room while she calms down. Putting on soothing music can also help.
Know When It’s Time to Call In Help
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’re mom won’t calm down. If that happens, you may need to call in help. Have a friend, another family member, an Alzheimer’s specialist, or a religious official in your phone. Talk to them in advance and make sure they’re willing to assist in an emergency. Your mom may stop being agitated if someone else steps in and listens to her vent her frustrations.
Don’t let family caregiver stress get to you. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, call an elderly care agency right now. Don’t wait. You’ll need breaks. If you don’t, you’ll be stressed and that stress can lead to your mom’s agitation. Talk to an elderly care service about hiring a caregiver to provide you with some respite.