5 Ways to Distract a Senior Loved One with Dementia

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As dementia progresses, it’s not unusual for seniors to exhibit unwanted behaviors. They may compulsively repeat words or phrases or become agitated, belligerent, or aggressive. However, there are a number of techniques you can use to distract your older loved one to change his or her behavior.

1. Engage in an Activity

Sometimes seniors with dementia act out secondary to being hungry or thirsty. They might need to use the bathroom, or they may be experiencing physical discomfort. The neuron damage that causes dementia prevents seniors from being able to express their needs. However, if there doesn’t seem to be a physical cause, your parent might be experiencing sundowning or simple boredom. Invite your loved one to go for a walk around the block, go outside and look at the flowers, pull some weeds in the garden, or listen to the birds. Engaging in an activity short-circuits the thought processes and prevents your loved one from remembering what caused the upset.

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. Fort Worth 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.

2. Enlist Your Loved One’s Assistance

Regardless of the fact that your loved one has dementia, he or she continues to want to feel useful. When your parent begins acting out, simply ask for help with a basic chore. Perhaps have your loved help with folding laundry, or he or she might enjoy preparing a meal or doing the dishes. Ask your loved one to dust, sweep, or vacuum the floor. Seniors with dementia are typically willing to comply with such requests as long as the tasks aren’t too complicated.

3. Play Favorite Music

Music has been shown to calm seniors with dementia. Use trial and error to determine if a favorite music genre soothes your loved one’s restless spirit. Your loved one might respond to classical music, modern ballads, or country songs. If he or she prefers one or more favorite songs, encourage singing along with the tunes.

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

4. Reminisce

There are many different ways to initiate a reminiscing session. Walk into a different room and turn on your loved one’s favorite music. Ask if he or she remembers hearing the songs for the first time. Bring out a photo album and ask your parent to identify someone you might not recognize. Begin a conversation about the locations in certain photographs. Perhaps discuss the types of clothing worn back in the day.

5. Use Humor

Humor is known to trigger the release of feel-good hormones and cause total body relaxation. Redirect your loved one to a different room and watch a humorous video together. There are many online videos featuring animal antics and funny clips that may prove entertaining. Perhaps ask your loved one to sit and watch a comedy show or romantic comedy. Use the opportunity to discuss a funny family story.

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 Fort Worth 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 can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (817) 720-5556 to learn about our high-quality in-home dementia care services.