Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 21st of November 2019.
It can be common for those living with dementia to become anxious or agitated for many different reasons, often involving change. A new environment can cause anxieties as can changes in caregiver arrangements or fatigue. It is important to understand what causes anxiousness in those living with dementia so the best actions can be taken to prevent it from happening. It is widely understood that anxiety can reduce the quality of life for those living with dementia therefore it is essential to do all that we can to reduce anxieties.
It can be difficult to watch your loved one struggle with anxiety and not know what to do but there are a few ways to soothe them in order to reduce their anxieties and help them cope. Here we will cover five different activities perfect for reducing anxiety in those living with dementia.
Getting involved in arts and crafts is a great way to reduce anxieties. Painting, for example, can be extremely soothing and distracting which can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Painting also presents a great opportunity for sensory therapy, especially if you choose painting with fingers/hands; it allows your loved one to immerse themselves in their painting and focus on that rather than what may have been causing agitation.
Puzzles are a great distraction from feelings of anxiety; it allows your loved one to concentrate on something other than their worries. It is important to ensure the puzzle isn’t too hard as this can make feelings of anxiety worse. The right difficulty level means that are able to concentrate fully on the puzzle and will help them to calm down.
Take a Walk
Walking is a great way to calm your loved one down when they are experiencing anxiety and should be something that they do often to keep their spirits up and make sure they are getting fresh air. Should the weather permit, and they are feeling up to it, go on a scenic walk outdoors to calm their mind. The gentle exercise in general is good for combatting feelings on anxiety and worry.
Listen to Music
Listening to music together can be another fantastic sensory experience and as music can be attached to emotions, it can be really beneficial for reducing anxiety. Opt for familiar in order to help keep the anxieties at bay. Anything that is connected to happy memories can be beneficial as it will help your loved one to reminisce which can in turn help reduce feelings of worry.
Make a Memory Box
Again, to incorporate aspects of reminiscence and sensory therapy, you can create a ‘memory box’. This can contain photos, videos to play, music and keepsakes. Creating the memory box can be a relaxing activity in itself and can help to spark conversation. Engaging in conversation is greatly important, especially in times of anxiety and worry as it will help you better understand your loved one. The memory box can also be great to look back on again and again, as a tool to communicate and reminisce.