Using Distractions When Providing Alzheimer’s Care

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Anxiety and agitation are common among seniors with Alzheimer’s, often becoming increasingly frequent as the disease progresses. For Alzheimer’s caregivers, such outbursts can be frustrating, especially since it can take a while to calm seniors down after periods of increased agitation or uncharacteristic aggression. One way to deal with such behaviors is to strategically employ distractions to de-escalate the situation.

Providing a New Focus of Attention

Distracting a senior loved one takes careful observation. For instance, if you know that your loved one becomes increasingly agitated in different surroundings, bring a few comfort objects from home when going to doctors’ appointments or visiting other family members. Some other ways to re-direct attention can include:

• Starting a fun activity during known periods of increased agitation
• Changing the topic of conversation when there’s clear frustration
• A little bribery with a light snack or an enjoyable movie

Making It Easier to Give Medications and Take Care of Personal Needs

Seniors with Alzheimer’s have a tendency to get fussy with some daily routines such as personal hygiene needs and taking medications. Distractions while performing these tasks can be as simple as starting a conversation on a familiar topic, having a loved one make decisions on what to have for breakfast or dinner that day, or putting on a favorite TV show.

Making Family Members and Friends Feel More Comfortable

Once you determine when it’s best to initiate distractions, visiting family members and friends may feel more comfortable around your senior loved one. This can also increase socialization, minimize loneliness, and possibly provide voluntary assistance from other family members and friends when you need a break from your caregiving duties.

Be sensitive to unfounded fears, perceived threats with no basis, and frustrations. Never bring attention to the behavior or unintentionally embarrass your loved one. When outbursts do occur, make an effort to calm him or her down and redirect the focus to something more positive.

If you are the primary caregiver for an aging relative with memory impairment and could use help meeting his or her care needs, don’t hesitate to call Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of home care Caledon families trust, we can promote your loved one’s safety and wellbeing in the comfort of home. To learn more, please call 905-951-8885 today. We look forward to hearing from you.