Wednesday Workshop – Redirection Techniques for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. First, what is redirection? Redirection is a technique caregivers use to help our loved one move from one situation to another, usually to distract the person from an unwanted behavior. Redirection involves the caregiver using their words, their attitude and their persuasiveness to shift away from an unwanted behavior.
When we see our loved one “doing something wrong”, our first reaction is usually to tell the person, “No! That’s wrong. You can’t do that!”
As most caregivers know, this gets us nowhere. Don’t be too hard on yourself though. Emotionally charged responses are perfectly normal when dealing with someone you love and care for. We want to keep Mom from accidentally hurting herself and keep Dad from wandering off.
What you didn’t know is that there is a much better way of getting our loved ones to do what we want, it’s called redirection.
If your loved one is displaying unwanted behaviors, then present them with something specific and different to focus on. Let’s say your loved one is continuously pacing or wandering around the house. They need something else to focus on rather than walking back and forth. This could be a change of scenery or a new activity – basically anything that breaks the pattern of behavior. Going outside or offering your loved one their favorite snack can be very good distraction. Try saying something like, “Why don’t we get some fresh air?” or “I need your help with getting the crackers out.”
Remember, redirection works much more effectively if you’re not so demanding. No mother, father or spouse wants to be told what to do. Stick to a calm, reassuring, friendly tone. Above all, avoid arguing or using reason. For example, “But Mom, if you do that, you’ll hurt yourself!”
Dementia causes people with dementia to lose the ability to think logically, so it isn’t an effective method. Actually, it can make your loved one very defensive and they’ll withdraw, when your goal is to get them to move forward. Redirection works much better if you’re reassuring and agreeable.
Also, give your loved one engaging activities rather than passive ones like watching TV. Many people with dementia prefer activities that give them a sense of purpose, such as folding towels, setting the table or sorting papers. They will be much more willing to do something if they see it as helping and not being forced.
For additional assistance or training on redirection techniques
Feel free to call us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!