Distraction Techniques for Dementia
What is Dementia?
Most people immediately think of Alzheimer’s Disease when they think of dementia. But in reality, Alzheimer’s is just one type of dementia. Other types of dementia symptoms such as memory or cognitive problems can be caused by drinking too much alcohol, taking certain medications that have memory problems as a side effect, having a traumatic brain injury, or any of a host of other causes.
In older adults, dementia is often the result of a neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy Body Dementia. Not only does dementia come with memory problems, but it often includes behavioral problems as well. People with dementia may cry, scream, cry out or become angry due to feeling overwhelmed or feeling stress or pain. Also, this usually gets worse toward evening after emotions and stress have built up over the day — a phenomenon known as “sundowning.”
If you are caregiving for a relative, spouse or friend with dementia, these outbursts can be heartbreaking as well as frustrating! But there are ways to defuse the situation using distraction techniques for dementia.
Helpful Distraction Techniques for Dementia Caregivers
Instead of getting angry the next time your senior with dementia acts out, refocus their attention. Distractions work well to promote positive behavior. There are many techniques that Plano, TX, dementia caregivers can use to get the senior engaged in a positive way with the world around them.
Simply choosing to ignore the inappropriate behavior may work sometimes. This distraction technique for people with dementia takes a lot of patience when the senior gets emotional or even aggressive, but the Plano, TX, Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiver may want to just continue with their normal routine without acknowledging the behavior. Doing an activity that requires physical movement often helps refocus the senior’s attention, as well.
Just like children, some people with dementia act out because they are simply bored. Therefore, consider refocusing the senior’s attention by helping them start on a new fun activity. Many different projects including crafts, cooking, cleaning and reading may work.
Music can be used in many different ways to distract a senior with dementia. The caregiver can sing a silly song, although this technique works even better if the song is sung loudly and off-key. Inviting the senior to sing their favorite song with you also often works. Alternatively, you can play your loved one’s favorite songs on your smartphone, tablet or on the computer to help distract and calm them.
Since everyone wants to feel needed, asking the senior to help with a project can be a good distraction technique for people with dementia. Seniors can often help match socks, help prepare simple meals or help clean. Whatever you ask for help with should be easy enough for your loved one to do alone but require enough of the person’s focus to distract him or her.
Humorous distractions often work great to distract senior with dementia. Funny family stories often help to lighten the mood. Showing the senior a funny short clip off Facebook or YouTube can help break the tension. Tell a funny joke or share with the senior an amusing story that someone has shared with you.
Refocusing a senior’s attention through distraction often helps to stop negative behaviors. If your aging loved one has been diagnosed with any form of dementia, call Home Care Assistance at (214) 586-0120 to learn more distraction techniques for dementia and about the comprehensive dementia home care Plano, TX that many seniors need to boost longevity and vitality. In addition to promoting safety and wellbeing, our caregiving professionals encourage seniors with cognitive disorders to maintain mental and physical function.