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How Do You Calm Down Someone With Dementia

How To Calm A Dementia Patient

DO NOT Say CALM DOWN! (What to Say Instead!) “What *NOT* To Do in Dementia”

If the measures youve taken to prevent agitation fail and you need to calm a dementia patient, here are some tips to help:

Start by saying one of the following phrases: May I help you? Do you have time to help me? Youre safe here. Everything is under control. I apologize. Im sorry that you are upset. I know its hard. I will stay with you until you feel better.

And then:

  • Involve the Person in Activities
  • Change the Environment thats Causing Agitation
  • Find Outlets for the Persons Energy
  • Consult a Doctor or Specialist

If you regularly have difficulting caring for a patient who is suffering from dementia, you may want to consider hiring a home caregiver who specializes in dementia care. They would be able to help reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety in the patient, reducing the chances of outbursts or other problems.

We Make Them Angry Without Realizing It

Either dementia makes people so crazy that they feel angry and upset for no reason at all, or there is something causing people to feel angry and combative when they are experiencing dementia. During the past decade I spent a lot of time with people whore experiencing dementia, and I soon realized that the second statement is true, not the first. They were not crazy. I was the problemI was making them angry without realizing it. I had to understand what I was doing wrong and change it if I wanted them to stop being angry and mean to me.

Key Actions To Calm Down Someone With Dementia

1. At first, mimic their distress and repeat what theyre saying Seeming to be as distressed as they are shows that you understand and accept their feelings. Youre on their side.

You could also use this technique to pick up clues to how theyre feeling or whats bothering them .

That will help you when youre ready to move on to problem-solving.

2. Use the Hand Under Hand method When someone is upset, they may already be holding their hands out to you.

If thats the case, its the perfect opportunity to take their hand in a natural manner like Teepa does at 45 seconds in the video.

If they dont offer their hand, try offering yours. When someone is in distress, theyre more likely to welcome this comforting gesture from someone who is on their side.

Avoid pulling or grabbing their hand if they dont offer or willingly accept, that may feel like an attack to someone who is already distressed.

When holding their hand, try to stand on their dominant side . This will make them more comfortable and help them relax see the example at 4 min 43 sec in video.

Note: Teepa demonstrates her Hand Under Hand method in detail at 1 min 42 sec in the video.

3. Take exaggerated deep breaths, putting the emphasis on breathing out Transition from copying their distress to taking slow deep breaths.

Put a big emphasis on blowing the breath out. That helps to relax their ribcage so theyll be able to take in more oxygen.

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Paranoia Delusion And Hallucinations

Distortions of reality, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations, can be another result of the disease process in dementia. Not everyone with dementia develops these symptoms, but they can make dementia much more difficult to handle.

Lewy body dementia, in particular, increases the likelihood of delusions and hallucinations, although they can occur in all types of dementia.

Provide Comfort And Familiarity

How Do You Calm Down an Angry Person with Dementia?

Think back to the last time you were sick. Chances are you wanted to be surrounded by comforting thoughts, things, and people. For someone with dementia, the world can become a scary place. Comfort and familiarity can help them cope with this difficult time in life.

Help fill your loved ones life and home with things they find comforting. If they move into a hospital or assisted living facility, furnish the space around them with cherished items. For example, bring their favorite blanket or family photos to the new facility. This may help ease the transition and curb their sundowning symptoms.

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Cognitive Impairment & Memory Issues

  • Donepezil
  • Uses: Treats mild, moderate and severe symptoms of Alzheimers disease.
  • Risks and Side Effects: Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, lack of hunger, weight loss or low heart rate. Other less common problems are feeling tired, having trouble sleeping, vivid dreams or muscle cramps. Less common serious side effects include slow heart rate and fainting stomach ulcers and bleeding worsening of asthma and other lung problems seizures and difficulty urinating.
  • Non-Drug Treatments: Support groups talk therapy cognitive behavioral therapy cognitive stimulation therapy cognitive rehabilitation life story work exercise, singing, dancing and art. Experimental therapies, including deep brain stimulation and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation .
  • Rivastigmine
  • Uses: Improves memory, thinking and other mental functions.
  • Risks and Side Effects: Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, lack of hunger, weight loss or low heart rate. Other less common problems are feeling tired, having trouble sleeping, vivid dreams or muscle cramps. Severe side effects may include rash, hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, black and tarry stools, blood in stools, bloody vomit and other changes to vomit, difficulty urinating, painful urination, seizures, depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior, hearing voices/seeing things that dont exist, uncontrollable movements and muscle contractions.\
  • Galantamine
  • Memantine
  • S To Calm Seniors With Dementia

    By Kimberly Miller 9 am on July 2, 2019

    Dementia affects many areas of the brain, which can make it difficult for seniors to process their emotions. Seniors with dementia often experience outbursts that can be distressing for both them and their caregivers. Whether he or she is mad, sad, or anxious, these tips can help you calm down an elderly loved one with dementia.

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    How To Calm Down An Agitated Dementia Patient

  • Offer a Calming Environment
  • Just because your dementia patient is upset and angry doesnt mean you should take it personally. It can be easy to let these feelings of aggression upset you, but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Your dementia patient cannot control their feelings! Stop, take a deep breath, and demonstrate calmness. Being a calming presence helps make your loved one feel more relaxed and safe. Furthermore, they might begin to mirror you. Hold their hands and take deep breaths together until the anger subsides.

    A busy, noisy or bright space may be irritating your dementia patient. Perhaps the sunlight is too bright, the walls are too colorful, or too many non-essential objects are on show. Clutter can cause sensory overdrive as your brain works double-time to process unnecessary information. Moving to a simpler, dementia-friendly environment may help to reduce anxiety and stress. Alternatively, you could relocate to a sensory room until they calm down.

    Additionally, ensuring that there are plenty of lamps available to turn on once the sun goes down can help to reduce glare and reflections, which can often be startling for people with dementia.

  • Validate Their Feelings
  • Pay Attention to Their Feelings
  • Slow Down
  • Use Aromatherapy
  • Play Music
  • Maintain Routines
  • Using Pets for Comfort
  • Check for Discomfort
  • Connect
  • Refocus
  • More Experia

    How To Deal With Manipulation

    How to CALM or EXCITE Your Person w/ Dementia to Help FIX Behaviors

    Your loved one may have lost the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehoods, and they may no longer have a sense of morality around lying. These symptoms can be especially difficult for a caregiver to handle, as it may feel like a complete change in personality. In fact, a person with dementia may not realize theyre lying.

    Manipulation is often the root behavior for trust, control, and security. Sometimes, it can even be a cry for help.

    • Set limits when possible.
    • Remain aware of your personal responses. Do you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated? Acting on these emotions can bring more distress to an already stressful situation.


    • Hold dementia behaviors against your loved one.
    • Bring up events to prove or disprove statements.
    • Use accusatory language such as youre lying or youre being manipulative.
    • Engage in heated arguments.

    Dealing with dementia behaviors can quickly wear out a caregiver or family member. If you care for a person with dementia and are feeling resentment, anxiety, or depression, dont hesitate to seek help. A caregiver support group, counselor, friend, or family member can offer camaraderie and advice.

    Although there are no treatments to stop dementia behaviors in the elderly, there are medications, dementia therapies, and memory care communities that may help.

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    Do Not Shy Away From Asking For Help

    No one may have all the answers especially when it comes to taking care of a person with dementia. Try doing research on how their behavior changes and what needs to be done to help them live their lives without too many complications. Hire help when it becomes too much as it also ensures that you do not become too frustrated or drained. When you have multiple family members who can help, ask everyone to pitch in and look after the patient so that you can get some personal space to breathe and re-energize when it is your time to look after the patient. When you feel like you can no longer look after your loved one at your own home, it may be time to consider assisted living. In such case, look into dementia care homes that can provide specially trained professionals.

    Tips To Calm Down The Senior

    Proper care of a senior with dementia requires monitoring their daily activities and planning their day accordingly. This enables you to prevent any trigger situations and take the senior through the day without any episodes of agitation.

    • Create a calm environment: Facing loud conversations and a crowd of people triggers confusion and agitation. To prevent this, the surroundings around a senior with dementia should be calm and comfortable.
    • Monitor daily activities and caregiving: Proper care should be taken of the seniors everyday routine. Every day the senior must be given their medications on time. Make sure the caregiving staff is taking care of the feeding times and enough water is being drunk by the senior to keep them hydrated and calm. Adequate sleep is a must for a person suffering from dementia, so make sure you keep the environment calm enough for the person to sleep peacefully.
    • Prevent surprising events and change in routine and surroundings: Try keeping the everyday routine of the senior as similar as possible. Try avoiding sudden relocation of the patient to new places or surroundings. If the symptoms of dementia are increasing rapidly, it might be time to hire a dementia caregiving This must be done in the early stages so that the senior has time to get familiar with their caregiving assistant.

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    How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems

    • How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts

    Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.

    You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.

    In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.

    Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.

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    Helpful Tips For Caregivers

    How Do You Calm Down an Angry Person with Dementia?

    To decrease agitation and aggression with dementia, caregivers can help their loved ones in the following ways:

    • Find a multidisciplinary team of specialists. This may include a psychiatrist to carefully consider the risks and benefits of medications for managing behavior, a geriatrician to optimize your loved ones medical situations, and an occupational therapist to consider modifications of a persons living environment and daily routine.
    • Go for a walk or on an outing for a change of scenery. Physical activity has additional benefits on mood, memory, and lowering anxiety.
    • Add massage and touch therapy, or just provide a calming hand massage.
    • Incorporate music into your loved ones daily routine.
    • Notice the first signs of agitation. Nondrug options work best the earlier they are used.
    • Get creative: discover what works and try using different senses. Aromatherapy, an activity such as folding laundry, brushing hair, or dancing can all be calming.
    • Consult with your physicians. Medications are often prescribed as first-line interventions despite what we know about the effectiveness of nondrug options.
    • Educate all the people caring for your loved one on the interventions that work best, and check in with them about how these approaches are working.

    Read Also: Alzheimer’s Disease Ribbon Color

    Is It Human Nature To Be Kind

    A team of researchers from Yale University have some pretty good news for humanity: Most people are inherently good and kind-hearted, and its the mean girls and guys who deviate from the norm. In fact, according to their study, unkindness is a deliberate attempt to override our natural instinct to pay it forward.

    Adjust Their Eating Patterns

    Adjusting your loved ones eating patterns may also help reduce their sundowning symptoms. Large meals can increase their agitation and may keep them up at night, especially if they consume caffeine or alcohol. Encourage your loved one to avoid those substances or enjoy them at lunch rather than dinner. Limiting their evening food intake to a hearty snack or light meal might help them feel more comfortable and rest easier at night.

    Read Also: What Color Represents Dementia

    Making Sure The Person Is Comfortable

    • Make sure youre in a good place to communicate. Ideally it will be quiet and calm, with good lighting. Busy environments can make it especially difficult for a person with dementia to concentrate on the conversation, so turn off distractions such as the radio or TV.
    • If there is a time of day where the person is able to communicate more clearly, try to use this time to ask any questions or talk about anything you need to.
    • Make the most of good days and find ways to adapt on more difficult ones.
    • Make sure any of the persons other needs are met before you start for example, ensuring they are not in pain or hungry.

    Is Kindness A Learned Behavior

    Tips On How To Calm Down Someone Who Has Dementia

    Kindness is considered to be both an innate and learned behavior. Although theres no doubt that many of us are born with a natural sense of compassion, observing and receiving kindness first hand are the most effective way to guarantee its continuation. We possess a powerful privilege to choose kindness.

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    Coping With Changes In Behavior And Personality

    As well as changes in communication during the middle stages of dementia, troubling behavior and personality changes can also occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.

    Often, these behavioral issues are triggered or exacerbated by your loved ones inability to deal with stress, their frustrated attempts to communicate, or their environment. By making some simple changes, you can help ease your loved ones stress and improve their well-being, along with your own caregiving experience.

    At What Age Is Alzheimers Usually Diagnosed

    Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimersthose who have the late-onset varietysymptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimers begin between a persons 30s and mid-60s.

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    Faqs About Dementia Sleep Problems

    Caring for a patient with dementia and sleep problems is hard work. When the dementia patient is not sleeping well, it is very easy to become exhausted yourself. To give the best care, the carer needs to look after themselves. In addition to the following questions that some people have asked regarding how to get dementia patients to sleep at night, you should visit our guide on caring for someone with dementia.

    Why Not Try This

    How Do You Calm Down an Angry Person with Dementia?

    Challenging dementia behaviors can be super-stressful. This basic approach can help stretch your patience and move you both toward a more peaceful quality of life.

    Best of all, you can start using the Why-This, Try-This approach right away, even if youve been responding differently before.

    To make these steps simple to refer to, Ive compiled a free downloadable PDF, 7 Steps to Managing Difficult Dementia Behaviors Without Medication, A Surviving Alzheimers Cheatsheet.

    Get Your Free Managing Dementia Behaviors Cheatsheet.

    Questions, suggestions, or try tips that work well for you? Please post them below!

    Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimers: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers . You can learn more at

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    How Can I Take Care Of My Husband With Dementia

    A website that offers a brain test for dementia is a great resource that helps caregivers like yourself find support, so you can continue taking care of your spouse. But there are a lot of resources available online for those caring for someone with dementia. AARP offers various services for dementia caregivers.

    Right now, my wife is caring for her Dad who has dementia. In his case, after decades of not caring for himself due to alcohol and drug abuse, and successfully beating throat cancer , it appears that cirrhosis of the liver is what is driving his dementia.


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