All across the United States, the Northshore and the Chicagoland area, nearly 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia according to Alzheimer’s Association. Dementia can affect several aspects of a person’s life. The simplest way to define it would be a collection of symptoms that impair various brain functions including memory, social abilities, judgement and other thinking skills that controls a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
Homewatch CareGivers understands the difficulties and frustration that this disease brings, not only to those living with dementia, but also for the caregivers who are helping them on a day to day basis. And we recognize that dealing with dementia can often have more difficult days than good.
Here are 10 strategies that caregivers can use to help calm agitation in clients with dementia:
- Stay Calm – Stop, take a step back and take a deep breath
- Slow Down – Listen to what your client is saying, give them time to think
- Focus on Feelings, Not Facts – Dementia can impact a person’s ability to speak or reason, but feelings remain strong
- Bridge Communication Problems – Treat the people you work with respectfully and with dignity
- Limit Distractions – Limit background noise, turn down volume on TV, leave your cell phone in another room; make sure to give your client your undivided attention
- Declutter – Remove excess items in surrounding to create a calmer environment
- Check for Discomfort – Some clients may have difficulty communicating if they are uncomfortable; do regular check ins and ask questions
- Refocus – Do NOT focus on frustrating details; focus on the situation at hand and/or specific activity
- Say Yes – This creates a connection with your client; tells them you understand what is important to him/her
- Connect – Enjoy the moment you have and aim to do your best daily
To read more on these strategies and to learn more about activities you can do with your clients with dementia, visit Dementia Helpers.