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Effective Ways to Distract Seniors with Dementia

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Seniors with dementia commonly become delusional, accusatory, aggressive or angry with their Birmingham, AL, dementia caregivers. If the behavior progresses, the senior might cause harm to themselves or another person. Using a distraction technique is a tried and true method of diffusing a negative situation. Below are some of the more effective distraction techniques you can use to help your loved one if listening and empathizing don’t work.

Active Listening

Sometimes adults with dementia become frustrated when trying to express themselves. The first step in distracting an agitated older adult involves listening. Birmingham Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers should consider that he or she might be too hot, too cold, hungry or thirsty, in pain or need to use the bathroom. Ask specific questions that might 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 the senior to explain if possible. 

Be Empathetic 

If able to discern the reason for the behavior, respond with empathy. “I’m sorry”, “I understand” or “I’d be upset, too” statements may be enough to provide the reassurance needed to calm the loved one. If that doesn’t work, one of these diversions can help.

Offer Compliments

A bad mood, which leads to aggression, agitation or other inappropriate behavior might quickly disappear if a family member or caregiver offers a compliment to change the older person’s mindset. Praise an elderly adult’s hairstyle or 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 alters your loved one’s mood.

Activity Diversion

Change negative behavior by engaging 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 his or her bad mood. 

Change Locations

If something or someone in the immediate area triggers an unpleasant event, simply guide the senior to a different room. Perhaps take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Start a conversation about something that they enjoy talking about to change their thought process.

If you need help caring for someone with dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance. We provide flexible Alzheimer’s and dementia home care Birmingham, AL, seniors need to age in place safely. Call (205) 438-6927 today to learn more about our comprehensive services and how we can adjust them to meet your loved one’s need.