How to Distract an Aging Loved One Who Has Dementia

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Tips to Distract an Aging Loved One Who Has Dementia in Rockwall, TX

Seniors with dementia commonly become delusional, accusatory, aggressive, or angry. If the behavior progresses, they might cause harm to themselves or other people. Using distraction techniques is a tried-and-true method of defusing negative situations. Below are some of the more effective distraction techniques you can use to help your aging loved one when he or she is agitated, confused, or frustrated.

Try Active Listening 

Sometimes aging adults with dementia become frustrated when they’re trying to express themselves. The first step in distracting an agitated older adult involves listening. Your loved one might be too hot, too cold, hungry, thirsty, or in pain. He or she may simply need to use the bathroom. Ask specific questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Think about the moments just before the behavior began. Was something said or done to trigger the event? Allow your loved one to explain if possible. 

Be Empathetic

If you’re able to discern the reason for the behavior, respond with empathy. Saying things like “I’m sorry,” “I understand,” or “I’d be upset, too” may be enough to provide the reassurance needed to calm your loved one. Try to be patient, and give your loved one plenty of time to respond to each statement you make. If your loved one doesn’t understand you, try to gently rephrase the question or statement instead of getting frustrated.

Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Rowlett live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. 

Offer Compliments 

A bad mood that leads to aggression, agitation, or other inappropriate behavior might quickly disappear if a family member or caregiver offers a compliment to change your loved one’s mindset. Praise your loved one’s hairstyle, outfit, or maybe a small achievement. Offer positive comments about a personality trait or an accomplished task. You’ll be surprised to see how this altes your loved one’s mood.

Engage in a Positive Activity

Offer to style your loved one’s hair. Maybe encourage him or her to join you in singing a favorite song. Ask your loved one to assist with a simple task or play a board or card game. You can even put your loved one’s favorite movie on to distract him or her from the bad mood. 

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 elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Change Locations 

If something or someone in the immediate area triggers an unpleasant event, simply guide your loved one to a different room. Perhaps take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Start a conversation about something your loved one enjoys talking about to change his or her thought process.

Alter the Lighting

Agitation may be the result of your loved one being upset by something in the environment. For instance, he or she may be bothered by a glare coming through a window. Your loved one might also be upset if a shadow is causing a hallucination, or he or she may just be mad that it’s too dark to see the puzzle he or she is working on. Try dimming or brightening the lights according to the situation. Just a simple change in the environment could cause your loved one to calm down.

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 Rowlett in-home care 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. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (972) 722-7833 to learn about the high quality of our in-home dementia care services.


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