Stuffed animals and soft blankets aren’t just for kids, but valuable tools for eldercare. Research shows that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia can also benefit from having familiar comfort objects around them. On top of these comforting objects, comfort care for those with dementia can also include touch, warmth and sound.
Familiar Comfort Objects
If you were taking your toddler in to the doctor, you’d likely pack them a to-go bag with a few of their favourite toys, their snacks, and maybe a blanket. The next time you’re taking your elder to an appointment, try packing them a bag with their favourite comfort items. Comfort items can include anything from a sweater they’ve worn and loved for years, a stuffed animal, a toy from their childhood, their favourite blanket, a small book of old photos, or any items that your elder will recognize as theirs. Don’t feel silly about taking along their favourite snacks as well, adults get hungry too, and being hungry can easily lead to crankiness at any age.
Holding your elder’s hand, patting them, and offering hugs can help not only your elder, but also help you feel more connected to them. Never underestimate the power of loving touch. Having physical contact with your elder can lower high blood pressure, improve moods, decrease stress, decrease pain, and even slow heart rate.
Warmth ties in with both familiar objects and touch. Elders often feel cold, even when you may feel perfectly comfortable temperature wise. As suggested above with familiar objects, keeping a warm sweater or a small lap blanket handy can help keep your elder comfortable both emotionally and physically. They’ll feel better because they’re warmer, recognize the blanket as theirs and familiar, and benefit from the familiar touch and feel of the blanket.
Studies show that familiar and/or calming sounds can help your elder feel happier and more relaxed. Try playing their favourite songs, or playing sounds that are known to be comforting, such as ocean waves or birds. Be careful with uncomforting noises though, as some elders find a television be disruptive and stressful.
Do you have tips for keeping loved on with dementia at ease? If so, be sure to leave a comment below. We LOVE comments, and your tips and thoughts couple help others!