Comforting Seniors With Dementia
As a caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you are faced with difficult transitions every day. The person you thought you knew has changed, and as a result, you too must change. The same comforts may not bring peace to your aging parent, spouse, or friend. Yet, they still need comfort and compassionate care. So how do you comfort a senior with dementia, even when it seems they don’t want it?
Those with Alzheimer’s often feel agitated or anxious, becoming restless, pacing or getting upset in certain places or when focused on specific details, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The key is to remain calm. Ask for help with memory care in Gettysburg PA. Take care of yourself too. Here are some helpful tips on how to comfort them.
Foster a Calm Environment
Remove stressors by moving the person to a quieter or safer place, or by offering some privacy, rest or even a security object. Try some soothing rituals to find what works best, and try to limit their caffeine use. Use a calm, open approach in interactions, smiling and using a warm tone during conversations. Assistance with memory care can bring you additional suggestions on creating a calm and safe environment, as well as creating moments of joy.
Avoid Environmental Triggers
Anything from unexpected noise and glare to background distractions (think: TVs) and loud conversation can all act as triggers. Let visitors know to speak in low, gentle tones, and keep the TV and radio down.
Monitor Personal Comfort
Check them often for hunger, thirst, pain, constipation, full bladder, fatigue, skin irritation and infections. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. Be sensitive to misperceived threats, fears, and frustration with the inability to properly express needs and wants. Hiring in-home dementia care services can also be a huge help in this area, as trained professionals can monitor for health issues, manage behavioral challenges and generally help you maintain personal comfort for your loved one.
Simplify Tasks and Routines
When giving direction, keep steps simple, short and concise. Make sure they understand each part before moving onto the next. By keeping tasks and routines simplified, you avoid frustration and stress. Maintaining a routine is crucial in those with dementia, as it promotes independence, something your loved one has been stripped largely off in recent weeks or months. Routine is also very comforting because they know what to expect.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Fresh air does wonders, especially when your loved one is getting agitated or starts to pace. Take a walk around the block, do some gardening together, read a book, put on music and dance…anything that gets the heart pumping is great.
Use calming phrases such as “You’re safe here” and “I’m sorry you’re so upset” so your loved one feels protected.
Listen to Music
Music therapy is proven to help seniors calm down and look back on happy memories. In fact, studies show that because music affects so many areas of the brain, it can touch parts that have not experienced damage by Alzheimer’s disease, bringing those pathways to the forefront. The result? A kind of “awakening” that also improves memory function and encourages social engagement.
Use Gentle Touch
Gentle human touch creates a bond between the caregiver and the senior, producing a calming effect and increasing trust. It doesn’t take much: a gentle hand pat or soft back rub is all that is needed to reduce agitation.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
You don’t have to go through this alone. Rely on Preferred HealthStaff professionals, who are trained and certified to care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us in Fairfield PA at 717-642-8500 or toll free at 866-943-9791.