senior couple consoling each other at home

Many behaviors associated with dementia are troubling to both the individual and caregiver, but support is available.

Of the many varied difficult emotions and behaviors someone with dementia may experience, perhaps the most heartbreaking is uncontrollable crying and/or screaming. Seeing a senior you love in an inconsolable state of mind, and not knowing how to help or what is causing the emotion, is both painful and frustrating. You want to help restore calm, but how?

Offering help begins by understanding that crying and yelling in dementia can stem from:

  • Pain
  • Boredom
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Agitation
  • Delusions, delirium, or hallucinations
  • Sundowning
  • Disruptive environment
  • Other factors

In the short-term, try these tactics to help:

  • Remain calm, speak in a soft, soothing tone of voice.
  • Determine what is causing the outburst. Keeping a journal is a great way to track triggers.
  • Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal clues. Is the senior grabbing at a certain part of the body that might be in pain or indicate the need to use the toilet? Is he or she pointing to something in the room?
  • Address the perceived need, and then implement a calming technique, such as one of the following:
    • Turn on favorite music and sing along.
    • Move to a different area of the home for a change of scenery, or go outside to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature if possible.
    • Offer comfort through touch – holding the person’s hand or rubbing his or her back or shoulder.
    • Provide a favorite doll or stuffed animal.
    • Bring out a snack and drink.
    • Request the senior’s help with a simple, repetitive task, such as folding towels or sorting nuts/bolts or coins.

For a longer term, preventative solution, talk with the individual’s doctor for advice. This should include a review of all medications for potential side effects, as well as an evaluation for depression and pain management if appropriate. It is also helpful to review the notes you have taken in your journal; consider modifying the home environment or daily routine accordingly.

Explore options for dementia care in Atlanta by speaking with the professionals at Atlanta Home Care Partners. Fully trained and experienced in creative, effective dementia care methods, our care team is available for as much or as little assistance as needed, with specialized expertise in soothing and effectively managing challenging behaviors and emotions. Call us at (404) 228-0103 to learn more about our personal care in Decatur and see our full service area.