5 Ways to Calm a Loved One with Dementia

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Dementia changes the way the brain works, and these changes could lead to aggressive behavior. As a family caregiver, you should remember your senior loved one’s actions and negative thoughts aren’t his or her fault and look for ways to manage the combative behavior. Continue reading to learn some things you can do to calm a loved one with dementia. 

1. Identify the Problem

Understanding dementia and how it impacts elderly people can help caregivers identify behavioral problems and triggers. For instance, if your loved one becomes upset during the evening hours, avoid doing activities or going on outings at that time. Knowing what can cause aggression allows you to plan your loved one’s day better. When your loved one isn’t at his or her best, plan soothing activities, such as yoga, a warm bath, painting, or music therapy.  Symptoms such as agitation, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in elderly people with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

2. Remove Background Distractions

Performing daily tasks and expressing thoughts become more challenging as dementia progresses. When there are background noises, the brain can become overwhelmed, causing cognitive impairment to worsen. However, limiting distractions can reduce feelings of restlessness and confusion. Some ways to minimize distractions include turning off the television when speaking, closing windows to block out background noises, and designating a quiet, safe area in the home where your loved one can watch TV and work on fun activities. 

3. Remain Calm

If you’re upset and nervous, your loved one may also become anxious, and the situation could escalate quickly. To remain calm, you may need to briefly step out of the room and regroup. Once your anxiety has subsided, you can return to the room and use one of the strategies mentioned above or any other tips you’ve received from your loved one’s medical providers. No matter how bad things may get, never yell at or belittle your parent, because those actions could make him or her feel embarrassed, guilty, or resentful.  The cognitive challenges that accompany dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

4. Check Your Loved One’s Comfort Levels

Combative behavior is often a sign of pain in older adults with dementia. The progressive condition impacts communication abilities, so for some seniors with dementia who are experiencing extreme pain, acting out may be the only way to communicate their discomfort. Always rule out pain as a trigger of verbal or physical outbursts before moving on to other calming strategies. 

5. Distract & Redirect

Comprehension problems are typical in seniors with dementia, and the inability to keep up could cause them to get frustrated and act out aggressively. To calm your loved one in this type of situation, change the subject or encourage trying another activity. The objective is to distract and redirect. For instance, change the subject to a more engaging, less stressful topic. You could also encourage your loved one to focus on a fun activity. When your parent finds something else to concentrate on, he or she might forget what led to the aggressive behavior.  Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Des Moines elderly home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (515) 264-2438 today.  


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