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6 Sensory Activities to Help Reduce Alzheimer's Anxiety

Imagine not having a good sense of who you are, where you are, or how you got there. Unfortunately, these are not uncommon situations for those who suffer with Alzheimer's. As a result, Alzheimer's anxiety and agitation are common in these patients.

Anxiety and agitation may be caused by a number of different medical conditions, medication interactions or by any circumstances that worsen the person's ability to think. Ultimately, the person with dementia is biologically experiencing a profound loss of their ability to negotiate new information and stimulus. It is a direct result of the disease. (Alzheimer's Association)

Providing sensory activities can be a safe and effective way to help mitigate these feelings.

6 Sensory Activities to Help Reduce Alzheimer's Anxiety

This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation. Thus, carefully consider these options and choose the one that might work best.

Coin Sorting

After choosing a wide, flat surface with access to plenty of light, set up multiple bowls to place the coins. Then, after pouring out a pile of clean, well-varied coins, begin helping the individual with Alzheimer's sort the coins into bowls.

While the process may be difficult for a patient when you first get started, it gets their minds focused and thinking, and they often come to love it. Just be sure to let them work in their own way and at their own pace.

Hand Massaging

There's something powerful about human touch. In addition to increasing socialization and feelings of wellbeing, a hand massage soothes nerves and calms Alzheimer's anxiety.

Playing a Scent Mystery Game

Though any scent might work, try to choose strong aromas that may have positive connotations.

  • Orange peel
  • Rosemary
  • Lavenders
  • Cinnamon
  • Thyme
  • Lemon
  • Coffee
  • Lastly, basil

Craft small scented sachets, leaving them unlabeled. While passing them one at a time to an Alzheimer's anxiety patient, ask them what they think the smell is, what it reminds them of, and any other related questions.

The process of slowing down, taking deep breaths, inhaling the aromas, and talking about thoughts and feelings can prove very soothing.

Creating "Squish Bags"

"Squish Bags" are specially crafted sensory pouches intended to be held, squeezed, and investigated. Filled with different shapes and textures, these sensory pouches are a great way to help those with Alzheimer's anxiety focus their attention, and connect with their senses.

Folding Cloth

While those of us faced with piles of laundry don't necessarily find folding a relaxing activity, there's something to be said for the calming effect of bringing order out of chaos.

While many seniors lack dexterity in their hands, many of them can still fold cloth into squares. Giving Alzheimer's patients a pile of clean washcloths or hand towels can allow them to feel productive and be calmed by a sensory connection to the physical world at the same time.

Rolling Yarn

While not every senior can knit or crochet, most all of them can roll a ball of yarn. In the same way that folding towels can feel comforting, so turning a basket of brightly colored, unspooled yarn into neat yarn balls can prove quite soothing.

Whatever else you do, ensure that the yarn you provide isn't tangled into snarls. Additionally, always choose bright, strongly contrasting colors to fill the basket.

Elite Home Health Care Can Help With Alzheimer's Anxiety

At Elite Home Health Care, we know how challenging it can be to care for a loved one as they age, particularly in cases involving Alzheimer's and Dementia.

To learn more about how our compassionate caregivers can help mitigate Alzheimer's-related anxiety and agitation, contact Elite Home Health Care today.

Written by: Yelena Sokolsky