Boredom And Dementia

29 May, 2013 by

Boredom And Dementia

Carer Tips: There are many different symptoms experienced by those with dementia but one factor that can worsen symptoms – boredom









Boredom And Dementia

boredomThere are many different symptoms experienced by those with dementia but one factor that can worsen symptoms is if the person becomes bored. This may not always be easy to identify in the later stages of dementia if the sufferer no longer fully engages verbally. Whilst the person may no longer have a fully working memory or have difficultly orientating themselves, their feelings are still the same as yours or mine and they are susceptible to boredom or loneliness if their days are not fulfilling. Sadly, whilst the memory of an event may fade, the emotions associated with that feeling do not.

In particular, both loneliness and boredom can trigger challenging behaviours, anxiety, agitation and wandering. This is why planning stimulating activities for the person with dementia is essential, not only to provide mental stimulation and benefit the health or the brain, but to avoid boredom.

Always consider if the activity you are planning is appropriate. It is very important that you do not ask the person with dementia to enter into a task that is now beyond their capabilities, as the inability to carry out a task can prove to be very upsetting.

Firstly, think about activities that person once enjoyed and try to adapt them to what can be achieved now. If they like to sew, perhaps find a simplistic or child’s first sewing kit just to make things easier. Again, if they enjoyed gardening, just placing bulbs in pots can prove therapeutic. However, also remember not to get upset or worried if they do not complete the task well or finish it. The end result is irrelevant; it’s all about them enjoying the task. Be mindful to break tasks into small pieces of short length to avoid the task appearing too onerous.

For those where dementia has progressed to a more severe stage, it is much harder to encourage them to join in tasks. It is important however to keep in mind that although they may be just sat staring into space, emotions and feelings are still intact and stimulation is still important for mental health. Sitting in front of a TV is not always good, as the person is often unable to follow fast moving story lines and this can cause more worry and agitation.

Think about what is going on outside the window that they may be drawn to stare out of. Might it be more interesting if you placed a bird feeder of water feature to watch, as a way of relaxation and mental stimulation?

Sensual stimulation is also good for calming an agitated mind. Use an oil burner to warm aromatherapy oils or provide a scented hand massage, as essential oils can have either a stimulating or calming effect dependent on which oil is used.

Read aloud to the person, even if they don’t seem to hear. Talking is very important as it is known that the sense of hearing is the last sense to go. Play relaxing music or something that they have always loved listening to. Even if they show no response they may well still feel the happy emotions that certain songs of music used to evoke.

In addition, try and encourage visitors. Although it can be hard to make conversation, encourage visitors to just talk about what they have been up to and what’s new. Just because it feels like a one way conversation, it is still a form of stimulation. For the person, hearing a loved one’s voice irrespective of the topic of conversation, may provoke happy or loving feelings due to hearing that person’s voice. Pets visiting or the comfort of a toy to hold should also be considered. They too can produce positive emotions on the inside.

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Otus-Square-logo21Otus Live in care  are not only committed to finding you a suitable Carer that can help you remain living independently in your own home, but also an individual that you share interests with. If you share interests and hobbies, this will enhance the time you spend together and will give you both things you can do or talk about together. For example, whether you like gardening, cooking or sewing, having a live in Carer that also enjoys these pastimes, will make the time you spend together enjoyable and keep you leading an independent life.

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