Overstimulation is common in dementia patients and often leads to stressful behaviors such as aggression towards loved ones or wandering off. As a caregiver, understanding what causes overstimulation is the best way to avoid it and keep your loved one as calm and content as possible. Our dementia care community in Sun City Center provides patients and their families with the resources needed to successfully navigate dementia together. Read on for tips on avoiding overstimulation in seniors with dementia.
Avoid Areas with Excess Noise and Light
Environmental factors including noise and light can be a sensory nightmare for seniors living with dementia. Even sounds that caregivers perceive as being quiet enough might be too overwhelming. This is why creating a calm environment is essential for keeping overstimulation at bay. Try to avoid excess background noise and bright lights, especially during times that are already challenging. During meal time, for example, the clattering of dishes being put away combined with eating may cause a swift change in mood or behaviour for your loved one. TV is another example. While most of us don’t mind having a conversation with the television on, it’s best to turn it off before talking to someone with dementia. Other environmental factors that can cause overstimulation include:
- Change of acoustics in the bathroom
- Several people talking at the same time
- Noise from appliances (ie washing machine, dishwasher)
- Loud ticking clocks
Of course, it’s impossible to avoid noise altogether, but there are some simple ways to manage noise levels to best support people with dementia:
- Install soft-close drawers to avoid accidental slamming
- Invest in sound-absorbing curtains
- Limit the use of alarms, especially at night
- Speak in a clear, slow manner
Create a Clear and Accessible Physical Environment
In addition to lights and sounds, items in your loved ones’ physical environment also contribute to overstimulation. A home with too much physical clutter makes it harder to locate items and perform basic tasks, thus causing the person with dementia to feel overwhelmed and easily confused. Here are some easy ways to create an optimal environment:
- Remove items your loved one won’t need from common spaces.
- Keep daily-use items in sight and easily accessible.
- Add labels to daily-use items and always store them in the same place.
- Stay on top of things like trash removal and dishwashing.
- Combine sentimental items into a memory or sensory box that can be taken out and stored away as needed.
Quality Dementia Care Community in Sun City Center
Supporting loved ones with dementia is easier when you have support. At Inspired Living, we are committed to creating enriching environments where seniors with dementia can thrive. If you or your loved one is struggling with at-home care, it might be time to talk to your doctor about joining a local memory care community. If you’re interested in learning more about the supportive memory care services available at our dementia care community in Sun City Center, contact us today with any questions or concerns.