Distraction Methods Dementia Caregivers May Find Helpful

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How to Distract a Loved One with Dementia in Palm Desert, CA


Dementia symptoms tend to come and go throughout the day. Restlessness, aggression, and extreme confusion are all potential behaviors your senior loved one may exhibit when tired or bored. While it isn’t always easy, your loved one relies on you to soothe him or her in times of distress. Many of the best distraction techniques are easily implemented at home, and showing them to your loved one’s other caregivers helps everyone know how to quickly ease those challenging moments that happen each day.

Start a Simple Activity

Your loved one may be acting out because he or she is bored or frustrated by changes in his or her abilities. Simple activities, such as coloring a picture or putting together a puzzle, can provide a sense of accomplishment and stability. Many professional caregivers keep distraction tool kits containing materials that can be used to quickly create activities, such as making collages, that can keep seniors with dementia happy.

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. Palm Desert 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.

Focus on Something Physical

Physical distractions can help seniors with dementia let go of upsetting emotions. Try offering your loved one a massage or bringing out a snack that entices his or her taste buds. Your loved one may also enjoy having a slightly weighted blanket on his or her lap or having you brush his or her hair. Just make sure to keep any tactile experiences fairly mild and gentle to avoid increasing the agitation.

Move to a Different Room

Changing the environment can generate a sense of newness for seniors with dementia, causing them to forget what had bothered them only minutes earlier. This tactic is especially helpful if you already need to go to a different room to complete one of your tasks. Whether you take your loved one to his or her bedroom or into the kitchen, make sure the environment is calming. Once your loved one settles down, you can then get him or her involved in an activity that keeps him or her happy.

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.

Try Aromatherapy

Certain scents, such as lavender, generate a sense of relaxation. Other scents, such as the smell of a favorite perfume, can bring back memories of happy times. Try keeping a few small bottles of essential oils and other scents your loved one enjoys. You can dab a bit on a cotton ball and invite your loved one to smell it. Your parent may enjoy the pleasurable sensation of a scent he or she likes and be more willing to cooperate with the next activity.

Slowly Change the Topic of Conversation

A senior who becomes upset may make demands that cannot be met. For instance, your loved one may insist on leaving the home, believing he or she is somewhere else or thinking it’s time to go to work. When this happens, start by asking an open-ended question, such as where he or she would like to go. Then use the answer to shift the topic to a more benign one, such as turning a conversation about your loved one’s desire to go to an old favorite destination to one about vacations in general.

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 Palm Desert 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. For reliable in-home dementia care services, contact us at (760) 345-0001 today.


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