How to Distract a Loved One with Dementia

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When seniors with dementia get upset, distracting them can be an excellent way to take their minds off whatever is bothering them so they can calm down. If you want to make things easier for a senior loved one with dementia, try the following distraction techniques.

Ask a Question

Asking a question is often the simplest way to distract a senior with dementia when he or she is upset, and it works well because it requires your loved one to stop thinking about what’s bothering him or her and consider another topic instead. When using this technique, make sure you ask a question completely unrelated to the thing that’s bothering your loved one. You can try asking about something in the immediate vicinity, such as whether your parent’s shoelaces are tied or what’s on a nearby sign, or you can ask a question about the past, such as the name of your loved one’s mother.

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. Flower Mound 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.

Suggest a Snack

This distraction technique can be very calming because dementia outbursts are often triggered by hunger or thirst. If possible, offer a small snack, treat, or drink to your loved one when he or she is upset. Your parent may have difficulty comprehending your words, so go ahead and prepare a snack, then hold it where your loved one can see and smell it. If you plan to use this form of distraction frequently, stick to healthy low-calorie options such as fruit to avoid health issues.

Move to a New Location

The human brain is heavily influenced by its surroundings, so it tends to associate certain thoughts with certain spaces. The same mental process that makes you forget what you were doing when you walk into a different room can make your loved one forget the source of his or her agitation. Just leading your loved one into a new room may be enough to entirely distract him or her. Selecting a calm, well-lit area with a soothing environment may be especially helpful for calming your loved one.

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 senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Start a Favorite Pastime

If you know your loved one appreciates a specific pastime, encourage him or her to start doing that activity. Of course, if your loved one is fixated on something that’s bothering him or her, he or she may not want to try reading, knitting, or playing with a fidget toy if you suggest it. However, picking up the object and interacting with it where your loved one can see it may be enough to spike his or her interest and encourage him or her to get involved.

Sing a Song

Music is a powerful form of distraction. Try singing a song your loved one enjoys to get his or her attention. To further engage your parent, you can begin clapping your hands or shaking an instrument until he or she joins in. Singing is a great way to take your loved one’s mind off unpleasant things and boost his or her mood.

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 Flower Mound homecare 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. Call Home Care Assistance at (972) 468-6010 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.