It's the season of storms, and lately we've seen quite a few. While some of us may enjoy the distant sounds of thunder and the steady drumming of rain on our rooftops, severe weather can create confusion and stress for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This can lead to risky behavior and agitation that can be hard to understand and handle. To assist you as you care for a loved one along their dementia journey, here are a few facts and tips to help you weather the storms.
How Storms Can Affect Those With Memory Loss
Generally, storms and severe weather are marked by a drop in air pressure. This lowered barometric pressure (accompanied by temperature and lighting changes) can often cause pain or discomfort in the form of headaches, arthritis, and nerve problems in the muscles and joints. For those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, it is hard to understand why they are hurting and what is going on outside. They may notice when it gets darker or brighter with a flash of lightening and hear the sounds of the wind and rain, but they may not understand where these are coming from or why it is happening. This may cause your loved one to become distressed. The resulting confusion and fear may even create negative behaviors in the form of agitated pacing or aggression.
Helping A Loved One Through A Storm
When storms occur, many caregivers are uncertain of how to handle changes in behavior, but the memory care experts at our campus are well-prepared for such events and are sharing their expert advice to help you as you and your loved one weather the storms.
- Preparation is key. If you know that a bad storm is coming, take your loved one to a safe, quiet place before it begins.
- Attempt to minimize the noises of rain and wind by closing the doors and curtains and playing soothing music.
- Give them something familiar to hold on to such as a pillow.
- Distract them with singing, or play a game to reassure them that nothing is wrong. Try to be comforting with your body language and voice to help them feel calm.
- Dementia patients often mirror their caregiver's behavior. If you’re anxious, their anxiety could increase as well.
Whatever your method, the best way to help a loved one during a storm is to create a safe and reassuring environment that lessens the disruption of what is happening outside. We hope that by using these ideas you will be better equipped to handle anything Mother Nature sends your way.
If you have other questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia, contact a Trilogy Memory Care provider near you!