6 Ways to Calm a Senior with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease sometimes express themselves with agitated behavior that can be difficult for caregivers to manage. Fortunately, the following strategies work in most cases, and having them in your caregiver tool kit can help you quickly calm your aging loved one down. 

1. Look for Cues that Point to Health Concerns

Refusing to comply with a part of the daily routine may be your loved one’s easiest way to express a physical issue. For instance, your loved one may get upset about going to the restroom if he or she has symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Try to notice if there’s a pattern to when your loved one gets upset, since this is a clue something physical may be eliciting an emotional reaction. Professional caregivers with expertise in Alzheimer’s care are often able to identify symptoms of physical issues early, which allows for quicker treatment by a physician. Families looking for top-rated senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

2. Play Music

Music has powerfully soothing effects on seniors with Alzheimer’s. Try playing your loved one’s favorite song during activities or times of the day when he or she is likely to become upset. You can also reduce agitation by using songs as a cue that it’s time to start a ritual, such as getting ready for bed. 

3. Shift Gears

Your loved one may simply need time out from whatever is bothering him or her, and you should never rule out boredom when it comes to understanding agitation. If possible, try simply stopping whatever you’re doing together and move on to something different. You can always resume the previous activity when your loved one is more receptive to it. Professional caregivers are especially adept at identifying sources of seniors’ agitation and taking steps to alleviate it. Seniors with Alzheimer’s have much to gain when their families opt for professional Alzheimer’s care. Des Moines families can rely on compassionate and dedicated caregivers to help their elderly loved ones manage the various challenges of Alzheimer’s disease so they can enjoy a higher quality of life.

4. Offer a Familiar Object

A photograph, a favorite blanket, and even a stuffed toy are all objects that send signals to a senior with Alzheimer’s that he or she is loved and cared for. Help your loved one choose one or two comfort objects you can offer when agitation sets in. These items should be portable enough to take with you to medical appointments and other events when you may need to quickly calm your loved one. 

5. Bring in a Pet

Trying to remember names and follow social protocols gets frustrating for a senior in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s different when it comes to animals. Seniors with cognitive challenges often instinctively respond to animals because they’re no longer worried about judgment. Spending time with a pet also releases endorphins in the body that promote a calmer mindset. 

6. Have Someone Else Step In

There may come a point where it’s best to step back. If your loved one seems to be constantly agitated with you, it may help to take a break. There’s some truth to the concept that people who spend too much time together develop more conflicts. Having another caregiver step in gives you and your loved one a fresh start when you come back together. You might also discover that your loved one simply prefers having certain people assist with specific tasks, which is fine. Following your loved one’s lead in these areas can prevent future episodes of agitation.  When family caregivers use these methods, they can reassure and calm aging loved ones who have Alzheimer’s. 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. Call us today at (515) 264-2438 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.


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