Non-medicinal treatment for calming people with dementia
Dana Wheatley MSc. Experimental Psychology
What is Dementia?
People with dementia have a reduction in mental and social skills due to brain damage. Dementia refers to a group of symptoms which have many causes and specific symptoms. Dementia is most common in the elderly and typically gets worse over time. The most common causes of dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia due to a stroke.
What Causes Agitation in People with Dementia?
Agitation in people with dementia can be disruptive and dangerous. Agitation usually worsens overtime and is often the reason that loved ones are eventually placed in nursing homes.
There are many causes of Agitation in People with Dementia including:
- Environmental stress
- Poor sleep
- Anxiety due to self-awareness of their diagnosis and worsening skills
- Separation from caregivers
- Brain changes
Treatment of Agitation in People with Dementia
There are a number of methods to help reduce agitation in people with dementia including setting up a supportive environment, providing supervision as necessary, using communication strategies designed to support someone with dementia, improving coping skills and medication.
Non-medicinal approaches to reducing agitation are generally preferred as they do not involve any undesirable side effects and can treat the origins of the agitation rather than just the symptoms. Another non-medicinal treatment for reducing agitation in people with dementia is the use of a weighted blanket.
How Can a Weighted Blanket Reduce Agitation in People with Dementia?
Many people find using a weighted blanket aids in calming and reduces agitation. Weighted blankets provide deep pressure touch which helps your body relax.
People using weighted blankets to treat agitation have found that the use of a weighted blanket aids in:
- Reducing anxiety
- Providing comfort
- Feeling in control
- Feeling grounded