Today’s insight discusses non-medicative solutions. Creative ways to distract someone who is anxious before it turns into behaviors.

Transcription of Video:

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Today I want to talk about my favorite non-medications. These are things that we’ve used to distract somebody who is talking themselves into an uncomfortable state of anxiety.

We have a woman with dementia who’s constantly asking to go home: “I’ve gotta get home, I need to go.” What we can tell her is, “Oh well I could take you, why don’t you go grab your purse.” And then she goes to get her purse. All of our staff at Arthur’s drive their own cars to work, so we can take people anywhere they want to go. So we go out to Dairy Queen and we get an ice cream cone. She thinks, “well that must’ve been why we left,” and you get a cone and you come back to the house and everybody’s happy. I think an ice cream cone solves most problems, really.

There’s another woman in the industry who put us on to another great trick about bubble gum. She had a man in her care who was in the war and he was a soldier and he would have delusions about enemy fire. And bless his heart, he was actively trying to save the staffs’ lives by getting them down on the ground to protect them from enemy fire. But when he started getting the other residents on the floor then it became quite dangerous. What they did was put a piece of bubble gum in his mouth. People with dementia have a difficult time multitasking, so he’s having to manage this big wad of bubble gum and he really couldn’t talk himself into this high state of anxiety. There were no psychotropic medications, there were no restraints of any kind, it was simply a piece of bubble gum. It worked like a charm. We have used it with several of our residents who tend to talk themselves into anxious state where they’re just uncomfortable and not restful. Bubble gum is a great thing.

Another situation might be that your loved one thinks that they’re supposed to be taking their medications; why haven’t you given them their medications? “I know I’m supposed to get them at three o’clock and I haven’t had my three o’clock pills and I’ve gotta get them.” Why don’t you give them tic tacs or get some of those vitamin c tablets or something similar — Those can be great distractors. And of course it’s your fault that you forgot the pills, say “I’m so sorry I forgot! Here you go, here’s your pills.”

I hope that you can try some of these. Maybe it’ll trigger some thoughts. You can think of some new ways to distract and help people be more comfortable.

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798