Sidestep letting strong feelings get the best of you by remembering to "give yourself five" when you're steaming. What's great about this little mantra is that it can take so many different forms:
1. You could take five (literal) steps back from the situation if the person with dementia has become belligerent.
2. Count to five before you answer if you're stuck in a cycle of repeated questions or comments.
3. Take five whole minutes to yourself (set a timer!) if you're just worn out. While you chill, put on a surefire calming television program or hand the person with dementia a favorite snack and leave the room (if you're sure he or she will be safe).
4. When you can't escape physically, imagine five nice things you'd do for yourself if you could. Sometimes just picturing a spa or a chocolate cake in vivid detail is a tiny bit like experiencing the real thing.
5. Take five deep breaths: Inhale deeply through the nose, hold it for a count of five, then it let it out slowly through the mouth. Repeat five times. Nobody will notice you're stepping back from the edge of a cliff as you breathe.