Watching someone that you love and adore seemingly lose their mind and their sense of self can be painful. Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and require additional medical care and attention to tend to their increasing needs and demands. If you don't have the resources, time or even medical knowledge that an Alzheimer's patient may need, the next best option is to seek help from an assisted living facility. Although you can rest assured that your loved one will have all that they need, you should still put in an effort regularly to visit them. Due to Alzheimer's, they may become increasingly emotional and frustrated. This article will look at 3 effective tips that will help you create and maintain a calm environment during each visit.
Bring Some Calming Music From their Past
Music is surprisingly powerful and can easily trigger old memories and bring up pleasant emotions. To create a calming environment, one of the first things that you should do is to remove all distractions and anything that might end up becoming a nuisance. You should try to make visits yourself or with small groups and bring along CDs and other music devices with music and songs that will allow your loved one to relive some memory in their past.
Try to keep the visit in an enclosed and private environment if possible. The fewer distractions around, the better. Next, play some music in the background. Take note of whether the person you are visiting is responding positively to the music. If possible, choose songs and music that you are both acquainted with or that will help them remember who you are. For example, if they used to sing or hum a certain song to you before you slept, a recording of that song can help trigger pleasant memories and also help them remember who you are and the experiences that they've shared with you.
Be Careful of Bringing Up Sensitive Topics
Those living with Alzheimer's often become short tempered, emotional, and even frustrated by their environment and by their circumstances. It might be difficult for them to remember seemingly obvious things, and it may also be difficult for them to remember what's going on with them. To maintain a calm environment, watch what you say. Don't bring up sensitive topics that might trigger a negative emotion or memory. In general, it's best to avoid talking about people who have since passed away or are not present during the visit. You should also avoid talking about people that they might have had a negative encounter with.
Avoid asking them whether they remember you or a certain memory. In fact, allow them to lead the discussion when it comes to their past. Asking them to try to remember certain memories or events can stir up trouble. With that said, you should still try to answer all of their questions truthfully.
Watch Your Own Attitude and Emotions
You'd be surprised at just how much an Alzheimer's patient can pick up from your body language, even though they might seem incapacitated at the time. One of the most important things you need to remember when trying to create and maintain a calm environment is to stay calm yourself. Don't let your emotions get the best of you, even though you might feel frustrated by your loved one's condition. Even if they become emotional or frustrated with you during your visit, don't take anything personally. Remind yourself that they are not in their right mind, and refuse to respond or react in a negative manner, even if they are trying to provoke you.
If you keep up a cheery and happy attitude, you'll find that your attitude will become infectious. It can really help put your loved one at ease.
If you don't have any experience on how to deal with someone living with Alzheimer's, don't hesitate to speak with a staff member working at the assisted living facility. They will be able to help put you in touch with the right professionals who can give you some advice on what to do and say. To learn more, contact and assisted living facility like Grace Assisted Living.