When you interact with strangers, you quickly realize that you can’t necessarily use the same methods of communication you may use with your friends or families. Your inside jokes won’t garner the same laughs, and they may be uncomfortable with you attempting to hug them. It takes time to get to know someone, and in the process of doing so, you learn how best to interact with them. For instance, though your best friend Sarah likes a long walk in the mall to cool off, your new friend may prefer to sit down in a coffee shop and talk things out. You need to take the time to accept that new people may have different preferences and needs than you’re used to, and then you adjust your communication strategies accordingly. That’s just part and parcel of getting to know someone.
Something similar needs to happen when you’re interacting with your family members or loved ones with dementia. You can’t simply assume they will respond in a similar way as to how you used to interact with them. You may need to learn new communication strategies and start to get to know them all over again. Whilst this may be challenging, it may actually improve the relationship you have with the dementia patient and allow you to better help them through their problems. This is important because as dementia develops, the changes that happen may become more drastic. For instance, you may start to witness combative or aggressive behaviors that may seem frightening to you. Yet, we believe that you can learn to handle these difficult behaviors so that you can increase the amount of time you can enjoy with the ones you love. Here are some tips we have compiled on how to calm dementia patients down.
The most important thing you can do is to stay calm. Reacting with similar aggression can be unfair as it is not the fault of the patient that they are feeling aggression. It is just a symptom of their illness. It’s also not your fault either, so you need to avoid blaming yourself. Take a step back if needed and regain your composure.
Discuss Their Feelings
Try and get the patient to discuss their feelings rather than trying to use logic and reasoning. If they’re feeling upset about a particular meal for instance, try asking them why they feel that way and what they don’t like. Then you can offer some kind of reassurance, such as suggesting that you can prepare a meal that they like later in the day and that you can do it together.
Create a Calm Environment
When trying to calm them down it is equally important to make sure the environment isn’t particularly distracting either. Dementia may make it harder to process too many stimuli at the same time which can enhance negative feelings or restlessness. Try and keep the home clutter-free and quiet. Avoid too many guests at the same time and focus fully on the patient when you’re talking to them rather than using your phone at the same time.
Memory Care at Discovery Village At Southlake
At Discovery Village At Southlake, our Shine® Memory Care program is designed specifically to care and support patients with dementia. Our program is nationally recognized and run by a team of medical professionals and expertly trained staff who undergo training in effective communication with persons with dementia. If you are looking for memory care for your loved one, come find out what we have to offer at Discovery Village At Southlake. Our team is ready to answer any questions you may have and offer you a guided tour of our vibrant community. Contact us here!