Imagine waking up and not remembering where you are or even who the persons are around you. Wouldn’t that create confusion in you? Now, imagine living your life like that. You barely have a sense of self. You do not recognize the people who said that they are your family. How would that feel like?
People with dementia are constantly agitated. They are usually confused, and they don’t know what to do or where to go. As a result, they react easily to their environment. The things they see, hear, touch, smell, or even taste trigger memories and affect their sense of security and comfort. People who take care of seniors with dementia have to talk calmly and reassuringly.
This is often a sore spot for families. Although they understand what their loved ones are going through, they can’t deny how much it hurts not to be remembered by your own parents. However, families and caregivers must understand the importance of creating a calm and relaxing environment for people with dementia.
Creating a Calm Environment in Senior Care Facilities
Hospice care facilities understand that they have to create a calming environment for their patients who have dementia. In fact, they make it a point to avoid putting the dementia patients’ rooms beside the nurse’s station and other regular rooms because the sounds may trigger their agitation. These facilities are well-aware that the tiniest of sounds, such as the hum of conversations, the sound of medication carts being pushed through the halls, and the ringing of phones, can stimulate the residents.
It takes a big effort for these facilities to ensure that their residents with dementia can relax in the environment that they create. They take great pains to make sure that the staff they appoint to this unit are the same people that the residents will see every day. Consistency is vital in making sure that they don’t get stressed out or overexcited.
To create an environment in your home conducive to dementia care patients, you need to make sure that they have their own rooms and that these rooms are far from the house’s main parts, such as the living room and kitchen. These common areas are always so full of life and energy. This is not the kind of environment for seniors with dementia.
Building a routine is part of creating an environment that works for people with dementia. They need consistency in their lives, including doing things exactly when they expect to do it. If they take their breakfast at 7 AM, then you have to make that possible every single day.
You should also involve the other senses, such as their sense of smell and hearing. You can play calming music such as the ones you would play to put a baby to sleep. Nature sounds are most effective for them, so you can play the sound of birds, water, crackling fireplace, and classical piano. Popular songs from when the people with dementia were 13 to 30 years old are also great choices.
They also respond well to the relaxing aroma of lavender and chamomile before they sleep. To increase their appetite, you can diffuse citrus and ginger before meals. These aromas will calm them down and will help relax their nerves.
Why Environment Matters
People with dementia need a relaxing environment because it minimizes their confusion and agitation. It also helps them feel calm and composed. They can concentrate better in quiet and calming environments.
Imagine when you are trying to work on a big project and the people around you kept talking to you. Would you be able to concentrate on what you are working on? Wouldn’t you want to transfer to a quieter room? This is how dementia patients feel. They are easily distracted and triggered by what they hear and see. They need to focus their minds on what they want to remember or do and find it hard to do so when they’re in a busy environment.
When seniors with dementia are in an environment that is too loud, too busy, and too disorganized, their brains find it hard to process this information all at once. That creates confusion and agitation. This overstimulation of their brains is why most people don’t understand their reactions to certain triggers.
Whether you’re a caregiver or someone who lives with a loved one with dementia, knowing what triggers their agitation will help you manage and deal with the situations their condition creates. But above all, remember to create the most calming environment you can. Among other things, this is the most helpful in taking care of people with dementia.