5 Techniques for Distracting a Parent with Dementia

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Dementia can cause wandering, confusion, and loss of interest in daily activities. Seniors with dementia may also become frustrated easily because of cognitive problems, which can lead to aggression. However, there are certain things you can do to alleviate these issues. Here are some effective techniques for distracting a senior loved one with dementia. 

1. Change the Lighting & Sound

An unusual but effective way to distract a senior with dementia is to turn the lights on and off or increase the volume on the television. Only flash the lights a few times or as many times as it takes to get your loved one’s attention. Don’t overdo it, because it may startle your loved one or even provoke undesirable behavior. 

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Carmichael seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

2. Use Fragrance

Spraying light perfume or air freshener in the room may grab your loved one’s attention. Pleasant scents can distract seniors with dementia because they’ll want to know where the aromas are coming from. Don’t use harsh sprays or chemicals, especially if your loved one has respiratory problems. Lighting a scented candle is another way to distract your parent. The scent and the flickering flame may provide a pleasant distraction.

3. Introduce a Pet

Another effective technique for distracting a senior with dementia is to bring his or her pet into the room. Seniors with dementia love their pets, and when they see their animals, they’ll focus their attention on them. They’ll want to hold or pet the animals, which provides a distraction and calms anxious behaviors. If your parent seems agitated or angry, don’t allow him or her to hold the animal, because it may get hurt if your loved one acts out.

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

4. Call a Family Member

Call a family member or friend and tell your parent the person wants to speak with him or her. This tactic may excite your loved one enough to distract him or her from engaging in negative behavior. Your parent may be confused and anxious because of social isolation, and when communicating with others is encouraged, he or she may feel more connected and secure. 

5. Consider Crafts

Crafts such as crocheting, knitting, and scrapbooking provide a good form of distraction for seniors with dementia. Your loved one may enjoy crafting so much he or she will want to make it a permanent hobby. Keep a supply of yarn, crafting needles, and scrapbooking materials on hand in case you need to distract your loved one quickly. If your parent prefers woodworking or carpentry to needlecrafts or scrapbooking, visit a home improvement store and purchase a woodworking kit, which may be more to his or her liking. 

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 Carmichael home care service 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. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 485-4663.


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