It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to roam around a lot and to be very restless, both day and night.
“Being anxious is so common in people with dementia that nursing home staff don’t take it seriously. Their agitation is seen as part of dementia,” says [psychiatric nurse] Alka Rani Goyal.
“Anxiety in people with dementia is overlooked, underestimated and not identified. We just didn’t know.” [Goyal says.]
Employees at 17 nursing homes eventually helped her survey anxiety in people with dementia. Nearly 300 patients have been included in this survey, which was also followed up after one year.
The results surprised the researcher.
One in three nursing home residents with dementia had significant symptoms of anxiety.
The most common symptom of anxiety is being worried. But this was not so common among people with dementia, Goyal says.
The fact that there is a difference here between those with dementia and other anxiety patients causes the symptoms of those with dementia to be misunderstood and not diagnosed, she believes.
The symptoms of anxiety for those with dementia were primarily in the form of irritability, restlessness, tenseness and insomnia.
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