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How to Calm Your Senior Down When They are Agitated

Conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia, as well as constant exposure to unfamiliar environments can cause your senior to become anxious or agitated. Symptoms such as restlessness, irritation or hysteria at certain people or details are typical of agitation. Many seniors can be affected by agitated states at various points and will require home care and assistance to assure their safety and well-being.

What Are Some Causes of Agitation?

There are many internal and external stimuli that can trigger agitation in your senior. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive decline may be more prone to agitation or anxious states and are less likely to indicate when they are beginning to feel stressed; this is due to their ability to absorb and process new information about the world around them.

Some common causes of agitation include:

  • Changes in environment. New or upsetting changes in environment, such as moving from home to a hospital, or the presence of houseguests can cause your senior to become upset or agitated.
  • Inability to complete certain tasks. Cognitive decline and deterioration of physical ability causes stress.
  • Changes in people or caregivers. When your senior is faced with an unfamiliar person, whether they are a caregiver or a stranger, they can perceive them as a threat and become agitated or anxious.
  • Interaction of medications. Often multiple conditions can result in interaction from medications that aren’t designed to be used together. This can create increased agitation in your senior and should be resolved immediately by scheduling an appointment with their healthcare provider.

How To Calm Your Senior When They are Agitated

The best way to calm your senior is to watch carefully for causes of the agitation and try to remove or neutralise it. Often the agitation is sudden and unexpected, but there are steps you can take to provide a more supportive environment conducive to keeping your senior calm and relaxed.

Here are some things you can do to soothe your agitated senior.

  • Create a calm environment. Reduce or remove any possible triggering stimuli that may increase or prolong agitation; this could include moving them to a familiar, quiet place, or giving them privacy. Aim to decrease noise and distractions and try to implement a soothing ritual in a safe space.
  • Monitor their personal comfort. Personal discomfort is an unseen stimulus for agitation that can usually be easily managed. Ask your senior if they are hungry, thirsty or in pain, and check for symptoms like fever and sweating.
  • Listen and provide reassurance. If your senior is exhibiting signs of agitation, ask them what is causing the discomfort and empathize; talk to them rationally, without judgment and let them express themselves without getting angry or annoyed.
  • Re-channel their energy. Anxious or nervous energy can sometimes be managed by finding an alternative outlet. Encourage your senior to exercise by going for a walk, or by taking a car ride, or by listening to some of their favorite music. You could suggest something they find engaging and soothing, like painting or drawing, to redistribute the agitation as creativity.


It can be hard to understand why your senior is acting agitated or aggressive towards you and can put stress and pressure on yourself and your loved one. Agitation in your senior can be a sign of a deeper issue, which often requires specialized care. Home care professionals can provide the assistance that your senior requires by understanding the individual and tailoring to their needs.

Home care can help take a load off your shoulders and provide cooking, cleaning, and bathing services to your senior. Contact us to learn more about our services today!

If you or an aging loved-one is considering home care in Glen Head, NY please contact the caring staff at Karing Hearts Agency Corp. today. (631)366-KARE(5273)


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