Methods for Distracting Seniors with Dementia

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Caring for an aging loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially when many of the symptoms begin to worsen and alter his or her mood. To combat these stressful situations, you can distract your loved one and get him or her to focus on something positive. Below, you’ll find some distraction techniques to use when caring for a senior with dementia.

Playing Music

Seniors with dementia experience crankiness from time to time. They can become frustrated when they can’t remember certain things or experience other effects the condition is having on their overall abilities. When you notice your loved one having a cranky episode, distract him or her by playing music, which is a type of therapy that instantly calms the mind and helps with refocusing. Your loved one will be engaged with the sounds and words of the song, which may trigger positive emotions that combat agitation and other negative feelings. 

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. Green Valley 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.

Laughing

Any positive distraction can be a good thing, including telling jokes or reminding your loved one of humorous stories from the past. Humor can reduce agitation and encourage thinking about things other than pain, regret, shame, or anger. While telling a funny joke, ask your parent to join in and share his or her funny stories. Another way to use humor as a distraction is to show your loved one a funny film, read a funny book together, or do a magic trick. Humor can be used as therapy to distract and relax the mind.

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.

Asking for Assistance

When seniors with dementia display aggressive behavior, family caregivers should never become enraged. Instead, they need to incorporate new activities and distractions, such as asking for help with a simple household chore. Asking your loved one for assistance could distract his or her mind and boost his or her cognitive function. Your loved one may feel confident doing purposeful activities such as wiping down the table or folding laundry. While shifting the focus, try to understand why your loved one became aggressive. For instance, he or she may have been hungry, tired, or bored.

Dancing

If your loved one becomes agitated, get his or her body moving with dancing. Let your loved one know you’re going to grab his or her hand and start dancing so you don’t startle him or her in the process. When you both begin to dance, you’ll take your loved one’s mind off whatever was causing the agitation or annoyance. As a result, you can calm your loved one’s nerves, stimulate his or her brain, and shift the focus to something positive. Dancing can also enhance heart health and physical abilities. In addition to using dancing as a distraction technique, add it to your loved one’s regular routine because it’s a multitasking activity that can boost cognitive function and slow the progression of dementia.

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 Green Valley elder 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. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 520-625-2050 to learn about the high quality of our in-home dementia care services.