| Management Strategies
- Some aspects of agitation may improve through drug therapy . Track how these aspects of agitation change, and discuss options with your family doctor .
- Sometimes people become agitated because they have too much stimulation. At other times they become irritable because there is not enough stimulation. As a general rule, you should think about whether the problem is too much or not enough stimulation before you decide what to do next. In general, calming strategies or distraction work when there is too much stimulation. Examples of distraction techniques are music, TV, or a particular food. When the person you care for is not receiving enough stimulation, then you could provide them with a purposeful activity such as folding laundry, rearranging books, or going for a walk.
- Beginning a conversation with the person when they become agitated may help to relax some persons with Alzheimer's disease , but others find direct acknowledgement only aggravates them further. Try to find and talk about the underlying cause of the agitation to see whether they benefit from discussion. Empathetic, supportive statements such as "this must be difficult for you" can help. Often people find it hard to talk about personal matters, but in the face of such an important change it can be very helpful to try. Many people find it helpful to think about the style used by "Dr. Phil" on television. He says many direct things about difficult topics, but he does it in a way that does not belittle the person he is talking to.
- If there seems to be a common thread in what triggers the irritation or outbursts, try to eliminate these triggers whenever possible. For example, if remembering telephone numbers is troublesome, aids such as speed-dial may help alleviate the problem for a while.
- Try to encourage the person you care for to do activities that they enjoy and are good at. This will make them less likely to become frustrated and give up.