Thursday, June 16, 2022
HomeHealthHow To Keep Alzheimer's Patients Calm

How To Keep Alzheimer’s Patients Calm

Professional Help With Dementia Sleep Issues

Coronavirus and Dementia Q2: How to calm down and support the person with dementia?

Dementia is a disease that commonly affects an elderly adults sleep cycle. Experts still dont know precisely why dementia patients dont sleep but believe its linked to brain alterations. Other dementia sleep issues like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can also make it difficult for loved ones with dementia to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

If your loved one with dementia struggles with sleep and youre wondering how to keep dementia patients in bed at night, you may want to try:

  • Keeping them on a consistent schedule
  • Ensuring they exercise regularly
  • Creating a calming nighttime routine

Theres also overnight dementia care for family caregivers looking for professional, hands-on assistance.

Stowell Associates in Wisconsin is a premier in-home dementia care provider. We train and equip both our Care Managers and Caregivers to handle the demands of dementia care. With our 24-hour care service, your loved one will receive the best care during the day and nighttime hours. It will also provide you with peace of mind knowing your loved one is receiving the care they need.

Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor. Theyll help you better understand all the benefits of full-time dementia care.

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Dealing With Dementia Behavior: Wandering

Two characteristic precursors to wandering are restlessness and disorientation. An Alzheimers patient may exhibit signs of restlessness when hungry, thirsty, constipated, or in pain. They may also become disoriented, pace, or wander when bored, anxious or stressed due to an uncomfortable environment or lack of exercise. As well as adding physical activity to your loved ones daily routine, you can:

  • Immediately redirect pacing or restless behavior into productive activity or exercise.
  • Reassure the person if they appear disoriented.
  • Distract the person with another activity at the time of day when wandering most often occurs.
  • Reduce noise levels and confusion. Turn off the TV or radio, close the curtains, or move the patient to quieter surroundings.
  • Consult the doctor as disorientation can also be a result of medication side effects, drug interactions, or over-medicating.

What Are The Signs Of Skin Picking Disorder

Its hard to say exactly when skin picking changes from a mild, nervous habit to a serious problem that needs treatment. It may help to ask the following questions:

  • Does picking at your skin take up a lot of time during the day?
  • Do you have noticeable scars from skin picking?
  • Do you feel upset when you think about how much you pick your skin?
  • Does picking at your skin get in the way of your social or professional life? For example, do you avoid the beach or the gym because people might see your scars? Or do you spend a lot of time covering up sores before work or social events?

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My Dad Has Dementia And Is Moving Into Residential Care Are There Any Care Homes With Dementia Units

Yes, there are. These residential units will allow your dad to live in a home environment with the benefit of trained staff on hand to help care for him. It may also be worth considering finding a care home in the right location to enable friends and family to visit regularly. This may be more fitting for your dad and ease the transition.

If your parent/partner suffers from restless leg syndrome they move or twitch their legs uncontrollably, especially during the evenings and night-time. They may also experience tingling, burning and fizzing sensations in their legs too. Symptoms can be relieved by rubbing and stretching legs – but it can be so bad that it wakes the person up. If you discover that your parent/partner has either of these medical conditions, its wise to see a GP and ask for help.

I Care For More Than One Person With Dementia And Wonder How To Keep Dementia Patients Not Sleeping In Bed At Night Should I Put Them To Bed Straight Away

How to Calm Down a Dementia Patient

According to the Alzheimers Association, patients can spend up to 40% of their time lying in bed awake, this equates to sleeping too much during the day. If the patient does get up, dont try to get them back to bed. Try to restart a small bedtime routine instead of putting them straight to bed. Keep lights low, take them to the toilet, play relaxing music or read to them for a bit to calm them down.

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What You Can Do About Medications And Difficult Dementia Behaviors

If your relative with dementia is not yet taking medications for behaviors, consider these tips:

  • Start keeping a journal and learn to identify triggers of difficult behaviors. You will need to observe the person carefully. Your journaling will come in handy later if you start medications, as this will help you monitor for benefit and side-effects.
  • Ask your doctor to help assess for pain and/or constipation. Consider a trial of scheduled acetaminophen, and see if this helps.
  • Consider the possibility of depression. Consider a trial of escitalopram or a related antidepressant, but realize any effect will take weeks to appear.
  • For all medications for dementia behaviors:
  • Monitor carefully for evidence of improvement and for signs of side-effects.
  • Doses should be increased a little bit at a time.
  • Especially for antipsychotics, the goal is to find the minimum necessary dose to keep behavior manageable.

If your relative with dementia is currently taking medications for behaviors, then you will have to consider at least the following two issues.

The other issue is to make sure you are aware of any risks or side-effects that the current medications may be causing.

Create A Calm And Soothing Environment

The environment and atmosphere you create while caregiving can play a large part in helping an Alzheimers or dementia patient feel calm and safe.

Modify the environment to reduce potential stressors that can create agitation and disorientation. These include loud or unidentifiable noises, shadowy lighting, mirrors or other reflecting surfaces, garish colors, and patterned wallpaper.

Maintain calm within yourself. Getting anxious or upset in response to problem behavior can increase the patients stress. Respond to the emotion being communicated by the behavior, not the behavior itself. Try to remain flexible, patient, and relaxed. If you find yourself becoming anxious or losing control, take time out to cool down.

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Read: Communication In Early Stage Dementia

  • Focus on Feelings, Not Facts
  • Dementia can impact a persons ability to reason and speak but feelings still remain strong. You need to respond to your loved ones feelings instead of their words. Trying to reason and argue with a person with dementia will only frustrate both of you!

    Listen to the expression of frustration even if the actual words dont make sense. Your loved one might be saying, I need the car to take to the ball! You could respond to that expression by saying, you really are wanting the car today? Then try to provide clear reassurance. For example, I will take you out in the car today and we can get what you need.

    Rummaging And Hiding Things

    Pacing or Searching? How to help your Person with Dementia Calm Down

    Caring for a patient who rummages around or hides things in the home can be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

    Rummaging/hiding things behavior management
    Protecting property
    Lock certain rooms or cabinets to protect their contents, and lock up all valuables.
    Have mail delivered out of reach of your loved oneperhaps to a post office box.
    If items do disappear, learn the persons preferred hiding places.
    Restrict access to trashcans, and check all wastebaskets before disposing of their contents in case objects have been hidden there.
    Protecting your loved one from harm
    Prevent access to unsafe substances, such as cleaning products, alcohol, firearms, power tools, sharp knives, and medications.
    Block unused electrical outlets with childproofing devices. Hide stove knobs so the person cant turn on the burners.
    Lower the temperature on water heaters.
    Designate a special drawer of items that the person can safely play with when keen to rummage.

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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.

    Tips For Managing Sundown Symptoms

    1. Observe and minimize triggers. Watch for fatigue and other things that seem to spur on sundowning behaviors. Afternoon transitions and activities that you consider normal can be anxiety-producing for your loved ones.

    For example, does the household get chaotic and noisy as people get home from work? Does the TV get switched to something loud or intense, like a crime show or the news? Is there are a lot of cross talk during mealtimes? Is there a caregiver shift change?

    Watch, too, for nutritional triggers and adjust eating and drinking schedules. Cut back on caffeine and sugar, which can be too stimulating, and limit liquids later in the day, as they can cause increased toileting needs.

    2. Maintain routines and structure activity. Maximize activity earlier in the day and minimize napping . Try to avoid challenging, stressful tasks around dusk and at night. Keep to a regular daily routine theres security in the familiar.

    3. Simplify surroundings and adjust the sleep environment. Too much sensory stimulation can cause anxiety and confusion, worsened by changing light. Try to minimize physical, visual and auditory clutter in your loved ones bedroom.

    At night, keep it calm and comfortable , and dark . Evaluate your loved one for sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea.

    Essential oils also can be used for aromatherapy. They can be potent, so be sure to use appropriate amounts and dilutions.

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    How To Deal With Sundowning

    Watching a loved one becoming irritated, upset, hyperactive or demonstrate other behavioural problems can be distressing, but its important to remember that they are not in control of their actions. There are also lots of things you can try to minimise sundowning symptoms. Every person with dementia is unique, and it may take a while to find out what works best for your loved one. Keeping a detailed diary of your loved ones behaviour can be a useful way of identifying triggers and managing symptoms.

    Maintain a positive routine

    The most important thing to do is to ensure that your loved one has a routine tailored around sundowning behaviour to eliminate it as far as possible. To this end, it is helpful to draw up a timetable or schedule, ensuring that busy activities and outings are arranged for the morning when your loved one is feeling at their best. Once you have a routine in place, its essential to stick to it.

    During the afternoon, try to engage your loved one in calming activities that dont require too much thought. The aim is to undertake simple and engaging activities at this time, ones that arent too stimulating. Make sure that any clutter is tidied away, as this can cause aggravation later in the day.

    Stay calm

    Raising your voice or becoming angry will only worsen the situation, so try to remain calm, no matter what the provocation. Speak in clear sentences, dont try to rationalise with them and keep reassuring them that everything is ok.

    Repeating The Same Question Or Activity

    Empathy and Dementia

    Repeating the same question or activity may be a result of memory loss where the person cannot remember what they’ve said or done.

    It can be frustrating for the carer, but it’s important to remember that the person is not being deliberately difficult.

    Try to:

    • be tactful and patient
    • help the person find the answer themselves, for example, if they keep asking the time, buy an easy-to-read clock and keep it in a visible place
    • look for any underlying theme, such as the person believing they’re lost, and offer reassurance
    • offer general reassurance, for example, that they do not need to worry about that appointment as all the arrangements are in hand
    • encourage someone to talk about something they like talking about, for example, a period of time or an event they enjoyed

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    Helpful Tips For Caregivers

    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 , and .
    • 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.

    Get Into A Good Routine

    If possible, try and make bedtime and wake-up time the same everyday. Try and establish a nightime and morning routine as this will help signal to them what time of day it is. Things that can encourage better sleeping habits include a bath, playing music, brushing teeth, a hot milky drink or even the scent of lavender on a pillow from a scented spray.

    A scented pillow spray can help overcome restlessness or trouble drifting off. The smell of the lavender blend naturally encourages sleep. This is particularly helpful to those in the later stages of dementia when it is common for patients to respond to the sense of smell.

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    Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia

    We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

  • Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the personâs attention. Limit distractions and noiseâturn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved oneâs reply. If she is struggling for an answer, itâs okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.
  • Do Try And Identify The Trigger That Causes Behavior Change

    Keep Calm and Carry on When Dealing with Families and Dementia [WEBINAR]

    After spending some time with a patient who has dementia, caregivers may be in a position to identify some of the things that make dementia sufferers yell, get physical, or change their mood. For some, it may be something simple such as taking a bath or even getting dressed.

    The best approach to handle this is not to force the patient to do something that they do not want to do. Try and distract them with something else that allows them to relax and calm down. Once they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, try going back to the subject, but this time reassuringly and calmly.

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    Tips On How To Calm Down Someone With Dementia

    Esther Kane Caregivers

    If youre caring for someone with dementia you may have experienced the very frustrating moments when they become distressed and begin acting out. This could look like screaming, banging, throwing things, etc.

    A lot of people ask me how they can help someone with dementia. They realize that they cannot take care of their loved one like they used to and they want to do everything in their power to make sure they can live a long, happy life as well.

    If you are at this point in your loved ones life, I am here to tell you that you can certainly help.

    Just remember that there are many contributing factors to why someone with dementia may be agitated or lashing out. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common reasons.

    It is estimated that 50% of people with dementia experience some symptoms of depression, which can decrease quality of life, worsen dementia symptoms and increase carer stress. Anxiety is also common in people with dementia and has a similarly negative impact.

    What can you do to calm someone with dementia down? The answers are as unique as each individual person. But there are some general tips that I can give you.

    On thing to remember is that dementia does not JUST cause memory problems. The way someone thinks is also affected. Their reasoning and judgement are often one of the very first signs that someone is suffering from some type of cognitive decline.


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