A person with dementia, or Alzheimer’s, can develop severe anxieties or work themselves into a state of agitation that can be baffling or frightening to those around them. This post, using techniques developed by Teepa Snow, an Alzheimer’s care expert, will discuss some ways to help calm the situation.

Not surprisingly, getting in someone’s face and telling them loudly to calm down, is just about the worst approach to take. In cases of severe agitation, calling up EMTs, to either take them to a hospital or to administer something, is also a poor option, since they are generally not specifically trained to deal with individuals who are dealing with dementia.

Better methods to help defuse the situation start with effective communication with the person with dementia. First and foremost to calming a stressful situation is to remove what is causing the agitation and to create space for the stressed person to feel more comfortable.

The next steps involve empathizing with the person with dementia. Take their side against whatever is bothering them. Do not talk down to the individual, but lower yourself to their eye level, or below, so that the person with dementia does not feel like they are being threatened. Hold their hand and breathe with the person to establish a rapport.

Finally, in order to resolve the situation and to get the individual to take further necessary action, calm and relax your own voice and body before trying to get the person with dementia to take further action. Make the person as comfortable as possible, and then accompany the person to or help the person with any further tasks that need to be done.

For a more visual demonstration of the about techniques and for related videos, please watch the YouTube video with Teepa Snow at the following link: 10 Ways to De-escalate a Crisis with Teepa Snow