It is a good idea to know how to help a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease if they become upset, especially if you are caring for them or visiting with them. Should a situation occur where they become upset, your goal is to effectively calm them down so you can find a solution to their problem. De-escalation isn’t always simple, and there are several methods that work better than others. We’re sharing these with you below, so you know how to calm down a senior with dementia.
Mirror Their Emotions.
You can use the senior’s natural responses and body language to help calm them down by mirroring their emotions. Match their level of distress so they can see that you are understand how they are feeling. Mirroring emotions can also help give you clues as to what is wrong and why they are upset.
Take Deep Breaths.
Once you’ve begun to mirror their emotions, take some deep and exaggerated breaths. The senior will hopefully begin to mirror you back and begin deep breathing of their own. Help them to focus on the exhales, which will relax their ribcage and allow them to take in more oxygen.
Take Their Hand.
If the senior is reaching their hands out to you, which they often will, gently take them in your own in a natural manner. If they are not reaching for you, you can offer them your hand as well. The hand-over-hand method is a calming gesture and can provide the senior with a sense of comfort.
Use Heartbeat Rhythm.
Once you have the senior’s hand in your own, you can also apply the heartbeat rhythm method. You can do this by gently pumping their hand to mimic that of a heartbeat. Make sure you are aware of their reaction and they are not in any pain or experiencing discomfort.
Helping someone cope with dementia can be challenging for both them and you. You may sometimes feel alone in this situation, but you have our full support. At Senior Care at Home of Oklahoma, we are here for you and your family every step of the way. If our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care can be of further help, please reach out to our expert caregivers to schedule your consultation.