Since dementia causes issues with memory, mood regulation, and cognitive function, seniors with dementia frequently end up having episodes of panic, confusion, and distress. When this happens, you need to be able to reassure your aging loved one and help him or her calm down. Here are a few tips for comforting an upset senior who is living with dementia.
1. Create a Calmer Environment
Seniors with dementia are more likely to get upset or lash out when they’re overwhelmed by their environment. Mute the television, radio, or anything else making noise, and turn off computer screens or phones that are providing distracting, flashing images. If the room’s temperature is overly warm or cool, take steps to fix it. A calm, comfortable environment may help your loved one better focus on you as you provide reassurance.
2. Listen to What Your Loved One Is Saying
Even if your loved one isn’t making much sense, listen to what he or she is saying. Make eye contact, nod your head at appropriate points, and try to mirror your loved one’s phrases with replies such as “I can see it upsets you that you aren’t able to button your sweater.” Feeling like his or her concerns are being heard may reduce frustration. Try to empathize with your parent, and let him or her know you understand the situation must be tough or frustrating.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be frustrating and exhausting for family members, too. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Flower Mound families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
3. Tell Your Loved One That You’re There to Help
Say things like “I’m right here to help you” or “I’m not going anywhere” to let your parent know he or she can rely on you for help. Even if your loved one doesn’t remember or recognize you, he or she may be reassured by the general idea of having someone nearby. Use a calm, encouraging tone whenever you speak to your loved one, and avoid raising your voice.
It’s not easy for family caregivers to know the best way to handle different situations. 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 Flower Mound 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.
4. Distract Your Loved One with Positive Interactions
Reassuring typically involves reducing distractions, but in some cases, singing your loved one’s favorite song or bringing out a puzzle to play with could be helpful. This reassurance strategy gives your loved one something to focus on besides feelings of frustration. In addition to sidetracking your loved one from the thing that is upsetting him or her, it may provide a boost in mood and feelings of happiness and safety.
5. Avoid Arguing and Negativity
It’s common for seniors with dementia to lash out and bitterly blame their caregivers for their negative emotions. In these sorts of situations, avoid trying to defend yourself or arguing back with logic. Arguing could make the circumstances worse because you’re likely to end up bickering with your parent. Instead of getting pulled into a fight, focus on solving your loved one’s problem and saying comforting things to him or her.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Flower Mound families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.