My loved is experiencing increased anxiety, what can I do to help?
It is important to try and identify the cause of the behaviour. Often an individual may be reacting to the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and the course of the disease. Anxiety may involve fear of being alone or particular stresses, such as financial worries. Change is often a problem, such as a new caregiver, hospitalization, or travel. Parts of the daily routine, such as bathing or changing clothes, may induce anxiety.
The key to managing challenging behaviors is to accept the brain-behavior relationship so that the behaviors can be viewed through a compassionate lens and with a non-judgmental attitude. Once you have identified the possible sources of the anxious behaviour you can try to minimize their impact with Behaviour Management and the A-B-C Chain.
Antecedent- what occurred before a challenging behaviour or what “set the stage” for it to occur?
Behaviour- what is the problematic action?
Consequence- what happened directly after the behaviour?
For example: Does your loved one wander or become agitated when in a chaotic place such as a grocery store, when normally they are calm? How do you react after the behaviour? Do you stay calm or become defensive?
It is important to look at several instances over time to see if a particular antecedent or consequence has a trigger reinforcing the behaviour. After you have tracked and analyzed the behaviour try to develop new ways to deal with it. The key is to change the antecedent and/or consequence.
REMEMBER: Your loved one cannot control or prevent behaviours on their own; it is up to you to change what happens.