Agitation caused by Alzheimer's and other dementias

Many people with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia can become agitated or upset easily. It may be helpful to:

  • Keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Keep noise levels low and voices quiet.
  • Develop simple daily routines for bathing, dressing, eating, and other activities.
  • Ask the person what is upsetting him or her. The person might be able to tell you what the problem is. (Also keep in mind that the person might not know why he or she becomes upset.)
  • Identify and remove or avoid any sources of agitation, such as pictures, objects, music, TV shows, or anything else that seems to disturb the person.
  • Try to build exercise into the person's daily routine. A regular program of exercise may help make the person less restless.
  • Check for other illnesses that might be causing or adding to the person's distress, such as urinary tract infection.
  • Tell the person in advance about changes in his or her regular schedule (trips, doctor visits) and remind the person often of the upcoming event.

Last Updated: November 10, 2008

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