Our carers’ techniques for keeping people with dementia calm

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Some of our expert carers have recently revealed the helpful techniques they use to keep service users with dementia calm.

People with dementia can often become panicked, agitated and angry and it’s important to use helpful, calming techniques for those with the condition and the company has rolled these out as part of its carers training.

Our staff have cared for people with dementia for many years and through this we have developed a variety of different techniques which can be used when caring for someone with the condition.

People with dementia can often become panicked, agitated and even angry when they realise they can’t remember something or someone, especially if under pressure in-front of a crowd or friends and family, so it’s extremely important when this issue arises, to make sure you try to calm them and help them relax. There are also lots of methods that can be practised on a regular basis to help a person feel calmer in their everyday life.

We have found the techniques to be extremely helpful and as a company we now instil these techniques within our carer’s training programmes to make sure our service users with dementia are properly cared for.

We thought we would share some of our techniques to help anyone out there who may also be caring for someone with dementia:

  • Breathing exercises – these can really help someone with dementia if they start to feel anxious or stressed in a certain situation. Sit them down and have them breathe through their nose and expand their stomach and abdomen so they take lots of oxygen deep into their lungs. Do this for ten minutes. During this time you should do your best to have the stressful situation moved along or the conversation subject changed and the person with dementia will soon start to feel much more at ease.
  • Practicing mindfulness – we’re big believers that practicing mindfulness can ease a person with dementia’s general day-to-day stress. One of the most effective and popular activities that our service users enjoy is colouring. Colouring is an activity that a person can become engrossed in and they can become so ‘in the zone’ that they forget about any other worries or problems just for a short time. The repetitive nature of colouring can help ease agitation or aggression, which are common symptoms of dementia. Some experts have likened colouring to meditation as it allows you to ‘switch off’, which can be extremely helpful for people with dementia. It is also great for hand-eye coordination, dexterity and provides an outlet for self-expression.
  • Sensory stimulation – this is great for a person with dementia as it doesn’t require lots of thinking to be done and it can help calm and relax the person and make them feel less agitated. We have found twiddle mitts to be one of the most popular methods of sensory stimulation among our service users. They are usually knitted or crocheted cuffs or hand warmers, which have different textures and materials attached, such as beads, ribbons and buttons, that people with dementia can hold and ‘twiddle’ to help any restlessness and agitation that they might experience. Alternatively, having different textures such as cushions, throws or blankets within reach can really help too.
  • Looking after or having access to an animal – having a pet or having access to one is of great benefit to someone with dementia. They can help boost a person’s mood and help them feel much more relaxed. Simply having and caring for a pet helps to stimulate a person’s mind. It can help them focus on something other than memory loss and the negativity surrounding dementia. In some cases pets can even help people with memory loss interact and access memories from years ago.

Cats make fantastic pets too as they are low-maintenance. Stroking a cat can have a calming and soothing effect, decreasing stress and anxiety levels.

“Our carers out in the field often practice these techniques with our service users to see which ones work best for them. All our carers are trained to assess situations and a person’s behaviours to determine whether they might be becoming stressed, agitated or angry and can put some of these techniques into practice to help.”