When caring for or visiting with a senior who has Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, it is a good idea to know what to do if they become upset. The main goal is to calm them down and determine what their problem is so you can seek a solution. De-escalation of the situation is important so you can figure out what is wrong. There are several techniques that are much more effective than others, and we’d like to share with you the four best methods for helping a senior loved one calm down.

Mirror Their Emotions.

This method plays on the senior body’s natural responses. You should try and match their distress so they can see that you understand them and are sympathizing with how they are feeling. This method can also help you gather clues to determine how they are feeling if you are unsure, and possibly help you figure out why they’re upset.

Take Deep Breaths.

Now that you are mirroring their emotions, the next thing you can try to do is to take deep, exaggerated breaths that focus on exhaling. The idea behind this method is that the senior will mirror you back, and taking big deep breaths helps them to receive more oxygen by relaxing their ribcage.

Take Their Hand.

First, be observant and see if they are already reaching their hands out to you – this is often the case for many seniors with dementia. If they are, take their hand in a very natural manner; if they aren’t, you can offer them your hand instead. This is a comforting gesture that encourages de-escalation and calmness.

Use Heartbeat Rhythm.

While you have the senior’s hand, you can now incorporate the heartbeat rhythm. Gently pump their hand rhythmically to mimic a heartbeat. You can gage their reaction to make sure this is a comforting movement and is not causing them any pain or agitation.

We understand it isn’t always easy to help someone cope with dementia, but we want you to know you don’t have to go through this alone. Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington is here for you and your senior loved one every step of the way. To learn more about our world-class Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, please reach out to our caregivers and schedule your consultation.