Why It Helps to Stay Calm Around Someone With Dementia

Have you ever seen the World War Two-era British poster that reads, "Keep calm and carry on"? Keeping your demeanor calm, even when you're frustrated or angry, is a helpful approach in the long run.

People with moderate-stage dementia tend to mirror the emotional state of the caregiver. If you're happy, she's happy. If you're cross, he's cross.

To help maintain an even keel:

  • Show your calm in nonverbal ways. Move at a slow, reassuring pace; keep your voice even; use soothing tones; smile.

  • When frustrated, remove yourself from the room for a minute if you can. Your body language is apt to show your anger even if you can control your words.

  • Use cues like music, birdsong from an open window, a mug of tea, or other proven soothers to provide a calming environment. Blaring TV and talk radio can make everyone edgy.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio