How can I make my mother with Alzheimer's feel less anxious?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 22, 2016
Tanmac2 asked...

My mother has been a fearful,anxious person her whole life--since she doesn't understand most of what I say to her, how can I make her feel safe and stop worrying?

Expert Answers

Jytte Lokvig, PhD, coaches families and professional caregivers and designs life-enrichment programs and activities for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Her workshops and seminars help caregivers and families create a healthy environment based on dignity and humor. She is the author of Alzheimer's A to Z: A Quick-Reference Guide.

Your mother may not understand every word you say to her, but she will read your body-language and react to your tone. If you're worried that she's afraid you'll convey that to her in the tenor of your voice, so first you'll need to work on your own confidence.

Usually people will react positively to slower speech in a lower register.

If she's comfortable with touch, give her frequent long hugs. If she's a bit leery about that, you can probably calm her down by gently rubbing her feet and hands. While you rub in the lotion, keep talking to her in a soothing tone of voice. Take your time; rushing will definitely raise her anxiety level, so allow yourself extra time for everything you do around her.

You can also use music. Most people find comfort from listening to relaxation CDs.