Dementia can be a difficult prognosis to manage for both seniors and their family caregivers. As the condition progresses, seniors may become more agitated at times, and they may even become aggressive. While this behavior can be frightening, the sooner you can calm your senior loved one down, the safer he or she will be. Try these tips if you don’t currently have a tried-and-true method for calming a loved one with dementia.
1. Make Changes to the Environment
Being uncomfortable or in a new or changed environment can lead to agitation, so it only makes sense that some changes can also help with calming. Consider making one room in the house a quiet room that isn’t subject to distractions, such as TVs, loud conversations, or anything else that may disturb your loved one. The room should have a soft place to sit or lie down and comforting items, such as pillows, blankets, and photos of friends and family. If you can, take your loved one to visit this quiet spot when necessary. If you can’t create such a space or you aren’t close enough to home, you may need to move your loved one to a quiet space that’s away from too many stimuli, such as people, bright light, and temperature extremes.
2. Use Touch
There’s power in the human touch, and that may be all it takes to calm your parent. Patting the back gently, massaging the arm, holding hands—give it a try. At the very least, it lets your loved one know you’re there and he or she is safe and secure with you around.
Professional caregivers with specialized experience in dementia care understand how to recognize and respond to emotion-driven behavior in seniors with dementia. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated in-home care, you can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.
3. Appeal to the Senses
Sometimes, appealing to the senses can calm seniors with dementia. It may be a scent, such as chamomile or lavender. It may be the touch of a pet or a beloved blanket or article of clothing. It may even be listening to favorite music. Experiment with comfort items and watch how your parent responds.
Easing stress and anxiety is an essential part of caring for your loved one. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
4. Stick to Routines
Just like changes to the environment, changes to a senior’s routine can be extremely upsetting and lead to agitation and aggression. Try preventing those issues in the first place by sticking to a routine. When you must do something out of the ordinary, such as go to the doctor, make it as familiar as possible. Schedule the appointment so your loved one doesn’t have to get up early and can still have meals at the same times. Have him or her wear familiar clothing. Knowing what’s coming up each day may help your parent relax.
5. Control Yourself
You may not be able to control your loved one’s emotions, but you can control your own. Staying calm yourself may calm your parent. Don’t yell or get frustrated. Instead, ask your loved one how you can help or what’s bothering him or her. Use reassuring phrases, such as “You’re safe,” “I’m sorry you aren’t happy,” and “I’ll stay with you until you feel better.”
Using these methods can help family caregivers reassure and calm aging adults who have dementia. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Des Moines Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (515) 264-2438 today.