The Elms Blog

Redirection Helps Memory Loss Caregivers Maintain Control

Redirection Helps Memory Loss Caregivers Maintain Control

Providing Comfort Under Stress

For family members caring for a relation with memory loss, stress and anxiety are generally part of the job. Although some of the stressors are difficult to remove or reduce, such as financial and time burdens, it is very possible for caregivers to use redirection to allieviate some of negative behaviors that seniors may experience.

Remain Calm and Smile

It takes a bit of forethought and practice but the ability to present a relaxed demeanor goes a long way toward diffusing a confusing or frustrating situation. A smile, eye contact, and calm voice serve as important cues that things are okay. A hug, holding hands, or a gentle touch on the shoulder or arm can help break a repetitive pattern or mounting agitation, setting the stage for a transition to a more positive train of thought.

Acknowledge and Suggest

Memory loss changes the way people think. It is a losing battle to try to use logic to explain things, just acknowledge their reality and then make a suggestion in the form of a yes or no question. Responses that often work well across many sitatutions include:

  • “Oh, well let me finish up what I’m doing and then we’ll get going, okay?”
  • “We just finished that [big smile]. Remember when we used to …”
  • “Want to have some ice cream?”

These responses can be reworded or reframed dozens of ways. Practice is important because you’ll need to find the redirections that work best; however, they will become second nature once you see positive outcomes to situations that used to end badly. You don’t even need to have a large repertoire, just find a few that make your loved one happy and you can use them over and over with great success.

Be Kind, Flexible and Creative

When you are just starting out using redirection you will need to think about what things make your loved one happy. It could be fishing, gardening, playing tennis, singing. These favorite activities or memories can be used in many ways to redirect a conversation that is getting stuck or otherwise turning negative. You can reminisce or you can actually engage in the activity. Playing or singing their favorite song or eating a favorite food often works like a charm.

Basic Steps to Start Redirecting

  • Stay calm and don’t argue or be condescending
  • Smile and make eye contact to be sure you have their attention
  • Give a hug, hold hands, or put your arm around their shoulder
  • Acknowledge their concern with a confident yet gentle voice
  • Try to see or hear the feelings or meaning behind their words
  • Redirect with questions that require simple responses (yes or no answers)
  • Reminisce about something that you know prompts a happy response
  • Suggest a favorite activity that your loved one can easily handle

The Elms Specializes in Memory Care

Our campus includes two specialized communities devoted to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care: The Carriage House and Chestnut Cottage. Our professionally trained team uses these tips and more everyday. In fact, our high staff-to-resident ratio allows for individualized resident care that focuses on promoting positive purpose.

If you are wondering if your loved one is a candidate for dedicated Memory Care, please contact us at (401) 596-4630 or send us an email to tour our specialized Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care facilities that are professionally designed and staffed to avoid confusion, stress, and aggravation.

Providing Safe, Comfortable, and Empowered Lifestyles

Enjoy the charm of victorian architecture, spacious and relaxing community rooms and outdoor spaces, a vibrant and historic downtown and local community, and award-winning care that is always close at hand.