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Donna 15th Jun 2013

Posted on the Forum

I desperately need ideas for one of my clients who's dementia is causing chaos. (She has pulled out all the plants in the garden including sprinkler systems, pulls of screen doors, curtain's etc..
Her vision is very poor and she chants loudly all day while pacing.
I've tried fidget boards, sensory aprons, folding washing, stuffed toys to cuddle while pacing all day, headphones Could anyone please suggest something else? I need to prevent an injury to herself or others. Thanks Donna. Activities Officer (Age Care Special Wing)
17th Jun 2013
Hi Donna
Speaking from a clinical point of view, has this lady been assessed for pain with chanting and agitation? May also need a medication review and then activities may work for her.
Lauretta 18th Jun 2013
We found it possible to settle a client with dementia who sang tunelessly by putting on a singalong dvd and could join in this with no trouble. I have also used my ipad with great success as there are many great apps on the ipad that work well with dementia clients and really engage them. go to Alzheimers in the app store to get started. Lauretta
Carol 17th Jun 2013
When you find out the answer to this, please print it or send it out, we also have clients like this and its a real problem for the other residents as well.
Pauline 17th Jun 2013
Have you tried a weighted blanket, not sure if it would work considering she seems very active, but it calm's them down might be worth a try, you can google 'weighted blankets in aged care' for more info, they work really well with kids that have autism......or maybe doll therapy
18th Jun 2013
Hi Donna,
I assume she has been checked for a UTI or recurrent UTIs and had her pain and other medications assessed? Pacing and calling out are strong indications of pain so that could be the main problem.
Something I find particularly useful when helping my residents with agitation is music. This isn't music for entertainment so you don't need to have a stunning voice or be able to sing at all. There are two methods I would suggest:
1. If you are aware of this lady's musical preferences, try sitting with her and singing to the rhythm of her chanting. Of course if this causes her to chant louder stop immediately as it may increase her sense of urgency to be heard over you. If she engages with you and responds to the singing it can be used as a technique to calm her and reach her in times of anxiety and disruptive behaviours.
2. Take a large drum (the bigger the better). Sit facing each other, in a location where you won't be interrupted by others, and place the drum between you. Once she has settled in the seat and is aware of the drum, tap a simple rhythm and look at her expectantly. If she does not tap in response try again, but nothing too complex, the simpler the better. Keep encouraging her to communicate with you on the drum, if need be gently place her hands on the drum skin so she can feel the vibration when you tap it.
This technique allows the resident to express their emotions without the need to formulate words and sentences.

Unfortunately both these techniques require time and won't "fix" the problem, but they may provide your other residents and staff with a bit of relief in the meantime.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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