Caring for and visiting with seniors who have Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia is wonderful, but it is a good idea to be prepared should they become upset. If this should occur, your overall goal will be to calm them down so you can begin problem-solving. There are several methods you can try out in order to de-escalate the situation and determine what is wrong. Some techniques are more affective than others, and we’re sharing some of the best with you below.
Mirror Their Emotions.
By mirroring the senior’s emotions, you’re playing on their body’s natural responses. Try to match their distress, as this will show them that you sympathize with them and understand their issue. Mirroring emotions can even help you figure out what is wrong and see how they are feeling if you are unsure.
Take Deep Breaths.
The next step after you’ve begun to mirror their emotions is to take deep breaths. While you do so, try to exaggerate your breathing and place emphasis on the exhale. Ideally, the senior will begin to mirror back these deep breaths, and deep breathing relaxes their ribcage and helps them to receive more oxygen.
Take Their Hand.
Before you take their hand – see if they are already holding their own out you. Seniors with dementia will often reach out to you with their hands if they are upset. If they are, gently take their hand in a natural manner. If they aren’t, offer them your own hand in the same way. This comforting gesture can induce a sense of calm.
Use Heartbeat Rhythm.
Now that you have their hand, gently pump their hand in a rhythm that mimics a heartbeat. This should be comforting and not causing them any pain or discomfort. The heartbeat rhythm can further encourage de-escalation.
We know it can be a challenging time helping a senior loved one cope with the struggles of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. But you don’t have to go through this alone. Home Care Assistance of Knoxville, TN is here for you and your family. If you would like to set up a consultation to learn more about our world-class dementia care, contact our caregivers today.