Oftentimes, the goal of dementia care is to slow the progression of symptoms and maintain quality of life as much as possible. To achieve this goal, aging adults with dementia-related conditions typically have treatment plans that include both medicinal and non-drug treatments. Non-drug treatments, such as the ones discussed below, can often be especially effective at minimizing outbursts, confusion, agitation, and other mood-related issues.
Your senior loved one may become disoriented, confused, and moody because of a diminished sense of what’s going on around him or her, where he or she is, or what time of day it is. The purpose of reality orientation is to use aids such as clocks, clearly visible calendars, and familiar scents to increase sensory awareness.
In some situations, you may be able to keep your loved one with dementia calm by simply being mindful of his or her immediate environment. This is something you can routinely do by minimizing:
• Excess background noise
• Glare from the sun as times of day change
• The number of people in the room with your loved one
Low-impact forms of exercise, such as chair-based exercises, yoga, walking, and fun activities like gardening, give aging adults with dementia something to focus on. Exercise also has a natural calming effect because it causes an increase in hormones called endorphins that boost mood and ease discomfort.
A home caregiver can help your loved one exercise safely and provide compassionate assistance with the activities of daily living. 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 families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
A study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias notes this non-drug therapy may enhance overall wellbeing for people with dementia. The idea is to stimulate the five senses to encourage calmness and relaxation. For instance, you could fill an empty box with sand and touchable items like seashells or squeezable balls while playing videos of the beach, if your loved one enjoys that environment. In this case, visual and tactile (touch and texture) stimulation would increase the use of various brain paths. Multisensory therapy can also involve:
• Essential oils
• Favorite spices and herbs
• Photos of favorite family memories placed in your loved one’s room or near his or her favorite place to sit and relax
While its benefits haven’t been clinically proven, aromatherapy has gained acceptance as a complementary treatment for dementia. It simply involves using aromatic compounds your loved one finds calming to suppress agitation, aggression, and similar mood-based symptoms associated with dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, controlled exposure to light at certain times of the day has been shown to help those with dementia manage sleep disturbances. Light therapy can also have a calming effect because mood tends to be more steady when sleep cycles are relatively stable
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST)
If your loved one has moderate dementia, he or she may benefit from this non-drug therapy. The goal of CST is to use theme-based, mentally stimulating activities to increase concentration, focus, and mood.
A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for your loved one. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Fort Worth families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Whether it involves singing, playing an instrument, or simply listening, music therapy can have a calming effect on seniors with dementia. Alzheimers.net references a study showing music can help those with dementia by boosting mental performance, keeping emotions in check, and increasing memory recall.
Dementia can make life challenging for seniors, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional caregivers. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Fort Worth 24-hour care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (817) 720-5556 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.