Dementia can leave seniors feeling anxious, frustrated, and frightened, and it’s often the role of their caregivers to help them stay calm. However, this is easier said than done. Providing effective reassurance can help seniors manage the symptoms of dementia. Here are a few reasons reassurance is important in dementia care.
Create an Appealing Environment
Seniors with dementia often experience agitation when their environment changes or is not meeting their needs. Creating stable, pleasant surroundings can be an effective form of reassurance. If your loved one has any known stressors, like a particular color, scent, or object, try to keep them out of his or her daily environment. If he or she has a favorite object like a blanket or photograph, make it easily accessible. By surrounding seniors with things that are familiar and beloved, caregivers can prevent agitation before it begins.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Phoenix Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Remind Your Loved One of Your Presence
Dementia can make it difficult for seniors to understand the world, which can make them anxious. When seniors become anxious, it can be reassuring to know a familiar person is there to help them. Use soothing words and phrases like “I’m here to help you,” and “You are always safe with me.” If specific phrases work better than others, take note and remember them for future situations.
When seniors with dementia become agitated, it can be difficult to reason with them. Instead of providing logical reasons why your loved one shouldn’t feel anxious, give him or her something else to think about. If your loved one has a favorite pastime, whether it’s watching a specific movie or listening to a beloved song, use it to engage him or her. A carefully chosen distraction is a great way to reassure seniors.
Anxiety in seniors with dementia is often caused by too much stimulation. When there’s too much noise or too many things to look at, seniors may start to feel overstimulated, which can lead to a cycle of anxious questioning. Try not to add to the environmental stressors. A quiet, soothing tone of voice is a must, especially if your loved one is having difficulty processing his or her surroundings. Never yell or argue, as it will only exacerbate the situation. Sharp or sudden movements should also be avoided when possible. Instead, try to provide your loved one with kind words, caring movements, and pleasant interactions.
Offering reassurance to seniors with dementia can be difficult, especially if their caregivers have other important tasks to tend to. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Phoenix, AZ, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Avoid the Blame Game
When seniors with dementia become incapable of performing simple tasks such as turning on the TV or buttoning a jacket, they often respond with negativity. They may say the TV is broken or blame the caregiver for choosing the wrong jacket. When blamed, don’t respond to these accusations. They’re coming from a place of agitation and distress, rather than one of bitterness. When trying to prevent situations that lead to distress, it’s important to give your loved one the option to do things independently. The best way to respond to these moments is with reassuring actions. Merely provide the help your loved one needs and move on from the situation.
Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to reassure your loved one that he or she will receive continuous help and support. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and want additional assistance from a professional in-home caregiver, Phoenix Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our caregivers are available for a few hours a day to help seniors with daily tasks, and we also offer 24-hour live-in care for those who need more extensive assistance. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 602.388.1085 today.