How to Calm & Relax Your Loved One with Alzheimer's Disease- With a Method that Does Not Use Drugs or Medications
You go through a lot of pain, difficulty and heartache in your daily struggle to care for your loved one with Alzheimer's, dealing with your loved one's agitation, aggressiveness, confusion, anger, wandering and suspicion.
There can be many causes for these problem behaviors. Loud noises, having difficulty with tasks, difficulty with hearing or seeing, and an inability to communicate can trigger some of these behaviors. Even your television may be making the person with Alzheimer's more agitated than necessary, as I will explain shortly.
As a caregiver, you may often feel as if you have to do all the caregiving by yourself, and that you should be doing more, and feel sad that your relationship with your loved one is not what it used to be, feel anxious about healthcare and other important decisions, and get frustrated and angry even though you feel you should not be that way. Yes, caregiving can be very stressful!
We have a series of DVDs that have been produced specifically to help caregivers entertain, calm and relax their loved one with Alzheimer's.
I'm Greg Irwin, the producer of this DVD series, and thank you for visiting.
When you are caring for your loved one at home, you can control the environment and the atmosphere you create while caregiving, to help with problem behaviors.
Our DVDs help create a calming and soothing environment, and help your loved one with Alzheimer's feel calm and safe. Watch samples of the DVDs and order them by Clicking Here.
I recently spoke with Natalie from Mystic, Connecticut who uses several of our DVDs. She told me,
"These videos have been wonderful for my father-in-law who has Alzheimer's. When he gets agitated, playing one of these DVDs calms him right down, I think because there's no words on the ones I have, just big beautiful pictures of nature and soft, soothing instrumental music.
Words irritate him because he understands so few of them. We sit together and watch them and they are enjoyable, even meditative, for me as well. He even exclaimed, "I like this" and later "This is good" which he NEVER says about anything. It was quite remarkable. I'm so glad I got them."
If you have tried to watch regular television with your loved one with Alzheimer's, you may have had a bad experience and seen that it is disturbing to them.
It is difficult and frustrating for them to follow the plot and remember the characters of movies, situation comedies and dramas. Most television programs are also geared these days to a younger audience and have a lot of fast paced, jarring pictures with loud music that can be quite disturbing.
This is a known phenomenon. Carol Bursack wrote an article for the website healthcentral.com entitled “How Television News Affects Dementia and Alzheimer's patients”.
She describes how her father, who is a World War 2 veteran living in a care facility, is affected by TV news. She had requested that the staff members not turn on the news on TV, but the staff would occasionally forget and leave the news on. She says in the article,
“ The problem was, many people like Dad couldn't tell the difference between television and reality. One of the most heartbreaking scenes I had with my dad was when I visited early one evening and he begged me to save him - to protect him.
His TV program had ended and the news had come on. There was Desert Storm war footage being played out in front of Dad. He kept telling me there was a war in Fargo (where we lived). I told him no, this was just TV and this fighting was far away. Dad kept telling me not to lie to him - that I needed to protect him and get him out of there. He was afraid he would be captured.
Many of you who've cared for people with dementia have been through similar situations, so I don't need to explain how painful this was for me. No matter what I said to Dad, in his mind there was a war in Fargo and he was frightened.”
You can read this entire article here at healthcentral.com.
Our DVDs are played on television to replace regular television programs.
Each video has no story, characters or narration. They are filled with scenes of nature, including Yellowstone National Park, wetlands in Florida, the Blue Ridge Mountains and tropical fish in the Bahamas, all set to natural sound and soft pleasant music.
The videos show deer, buffalo, colorful fish, wild birds and other animals in these pastoral settings, with many scenes of mountains, creeks, waterfalls, lakes, wild flowers, and sunsets.
Relaxing Music Helps Alzheimer's Patients
You have probably discovered that persons with Alzheimer's respond well to relaxing music, especially music they grew up with and enjoyed throughout their life.
For persons with Alzheimer's who have a Christian background, hymns and Christian songs are very enjoyable. Several of our DVDs have Christian music and hymns as the background music.
Alternatively, other DVDs in our series have well known classical pieces as part of the background music.
You may be thinking,
“Greg, why are you qualified to make videos that people with Alzheimer's will like?”
Let me tell you how I came to produce these DVDs.
I have been a professional video producer for many years, including working for NBC affiliate TV stations and producing wildlife documentaries. I live in Wyoming, which has some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States.
Several years ago, a friend of mine, who has also worked in the television industry, became the live-in caregiver of his father, who has Alzheimer's disease.
You can probably relate to my friend's experience - his father's agitation, confusion, wandering and anger. Every day the father would try to leave the house to find his wife, who unfortunately had passed away years before. My friend's father also resented the fact that he needed daily care, and interfered with his son's caregiving activities.
He tried letting his father watch television as a distraction, but found that “regular” TV, with its frantic news programs, scenes of conflict and war, highly emotional soap operas, and complex crime dramas just made his father more agitated.
As I mentioned, I live in Wyoming and have always enjoyed the peace and calm of our beautiful natural surroundings, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. As a video producer, I have filmed many beautiful scenes of nature and wildlife, and my friend and I began experimenting with editing video programs of nature with no story or narration for his father to watch, instead of “regular” TV.
We found that my friend's father enjoyed the programs and they seemed to have a calming and relaxing effect, enabling my friend to have some respite to complete his caregiving and household activities like cooking and cleaning. This first video became the basis for our current DVD, “Beautiful Wyoming”.
I had occasion to talk to other Alzheimer's caregivers, and I explained the DVD to them and they tried it with their own family members, and had similar results. My friend Rosita became the live-in caregiver for a 74 year old woman with Alzheimer's and she told me,
“[the woman with Alzheimer's] often becomes agitated and restless throughout the day and evening. However, since I started using Lake Solitude Media's videos as a relaxation tool,
my struggles have diminished considerably. The scenic views, calming music and sounds of nature have captured the woman's attention. At times she becomes calm and tranquil, and at other times she becomes sleepy and takes a nap."
Click Here to watch a video sample of our "Magnificent Birds" DVD.
By now you have seen that these caregivers, like the hundreds of other caregivers who are using our DVDs, have found the DVDs very useful.
But you may have a few questions, like
Will the DVDs work for my family?
The answer is that many families are very happy using the DVDs with persons with Stage 1 and Stage 2 Alzheimer's. But if your loved one has progressed to Stage 3, it will probably not work for them. But if you are dealing with Stage 1 or 2 Alzheimer's, it is certainly worth trying.
Is this going to cost me anything?
No, we will send the “Magnificent Birds” DVD to you at no cost. I will also give you the opportunity to purchase additional DVDs in our series, and actually, most people do, in order to have a variety of different videos. I will enclose an order form with your "Magnificent Birds" DVD.
Am I putting our privacy at risk?
No. We are very aware of the privacy issues with Alzheimer's disease, and we will never share your contact information with anyone else.
You know the agitation and frustration your loved one with Alzheimer's goes through every day. Wouldn't it be a shame for them to not have the enjoyable experience of watching these DVDs?
Click Here to watch a video sample of our "Magnificent Birds" DVD.