Using music as a means of relaxation is a great way to distract someone who may be distressed. Music can be used in a variety of ways, but it is most important to choose music that your love one connects to and is familiar with. While jazz may soothe one person it could agitate another.
Choose music that is tailored to the person. Ideally, something that the person has heard in their youth. Songs that were popular when the person was in their youth, teens, or early twenties would be a good place to start. To discover the best music, ask questions like these:
Did the loved one grow up with ethnic music and have favorites?
Favorite movie musical, if any?
Favorite Broadway musical, if any?
Is there a favorite WW2 or other war-related song?
Is there a favorite opera? Classical score?
Does/did the loved one attend religious services? What denomination? Do they have any favorite hymns?
You can also find lists of the most popular songs from each decade at Acclaimed Music.
Have a playlist of at least five songs that are soothing. Sit in a comfortable chair and listen
Putting something familiar or meaningful in the hands of someone with dementia can provide a great deal of comfort and help soothe restless energy.
Pick objects that are sentimental to your loved one. Have them hold the object, and describe to you what it means to them or why it's important.
A hand massage using a little lotion with a favorite or relaxing scent is a simple way to connect and reduce tension.
Hand lotion. (An example of a complete Hand and Foot Lotion kit.)
Gently rub your loved one's hands. Be sure to be very soft in your pressure. Hand lotion can help.
Activities in which a person feels they are helping or being of service aid in creating positive feelings. This simple activity is something many people can do and is a calming task.
Have your loved one fold towels. If you have different colors, ask them to match the correct colors up as well.
A "Quiet Room" is a great place for your loved one to spend some downtime in a relaxed atmosphere.
Designate a room or space with bright light and minimal sensory distractions. Perhaps calm music or a puzzle can be brought into this space.
"Spa Time" is a great way to help your loved one relax, and spend some quality time with you.
Pick and choose your spa supplies based on your choice of spa activities.
Some ideas for "Spa Time" may include playing calming music and having some relaxing lighting (battery operated candles are inexpensive and safe.) Aromatherapy can also provide a tranquil sensory experience, lavender: rose, lemon and vanilla are popular scents. Arm, hand and scalp massages are excellent as well. Another popular idea is a foot soak in warm, scented water, followed by a gentle foot massage.
Strolling through a garden or creating/tending your own is a great way to engage the sensory system in a soothing way that incorporates smell, sight and touch.
Find a place you know your loved one will enjoy, you can easily find nearby locations on the internet.
Help to guide your loved one around a garden or park.
Talking about the past and familiar events with your loved one brings a sense of comfort.
Photo albums or history picture books.
Share favorite memories or look through old pictures together.
Nostalgic TV programs and movies with a light snack can be a good way to relax.
Watch one of your loved one's favorite television shows from when they were growing up.
This is a great way to provide some pampering. A manicure complete with a beautiful color can leave someone feeling refreshed and more vibrant.
Give your loved one a manicure.