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Methods for Distracting Seniors with Dementia

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Seniors with dementia can sometimes get stuck in a negative mood, or they may become antagonistic in response to having to do something they dislike, such as bathing. When these situations occur, distraction is a powerful tool you can use to defuse escalating negative behavior. There are many ways you can distract your senior loved one when he or she is upset, and these are a few of the most effective strategies used for people with dementia.

Ignore Negative Behavior by Doing a Physical Activity

As a caregiver, you’ve likely already learned you must sometimes ignore negative behavior. However, you can take this strategy one step further by getting involved in a physical activity. Watching you walk around with a vacuum or start washing dishes lets your loved one see you’re not listening to his or her complaints, and it may even motivate him or her to try to help.

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. Boynton Beach 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.

Play Music During Challenging Activities

There are times when you just know your loved one is going to get upset. For instance, many seniors with dementia don’t like water, and taking a bath may be a trigger for negative behaviors. If you know beforehand, try playing music during activities your loved one views as unpleasant. Sing a song while your loved one gets dressed, or use headphones to keep him or her happy while you wait for a doctor’s appointment.

Lighten the Mood with Humor

A little humor goes a long way toward defusing certain situations. Try telling your loved one a silly joke, or show him or her a funny comic. Keep in mind humor should be kept simple enough for your loved one to understand. For example, you may want to keep a funny story you share short or just show your loved one a clip of a hilarious video.

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

Redirect Attention to a Favorite Activity

You can also distract your loved one by getting him or her involved in a different activity. This technique works well if your loved one is frustrated with a challenging task. Have your loved one sit down to do a coloring page with you or go to check on the plants in the windowsill garden. Doing something new may put your loved one in a more positive mood, and he or she may benefit from feeling successful.

Ask for Help with a Simple Task

Your loved one may also exhibit negative behaviors in an attempt to get your attention. If your loved one seems bored or lonely, invite him or her to help you with a part of your chores. Seniors with dementia may enjoy matching socks or folding towels while you hang up the rest of the laundry. Alternatively, they may enjoy stirring ingredients as you prepare a meal. Providing a special job to do may help your loved one feel like he or she is able to contribute, and he or she may calm down as a result of spending time with you.

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 Boynton Beach at-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 learn about our high-quality in-home dementia care services, give us a call at (561) 740-6256 today.