Redirection: A Communication Technique Used in Memory Care

When a family member seems upset or is concerned about something, it’s in our nature to listen, empathize, and possibly provide guidance on how to resolve the situation. We tend to do what we can to help people we care about feel valued and respected.

However, people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can experience feelings of anger, confusion, and fear in a much different way, due to impaired memory and altered cognitive abilities. The condition tends to blur the lines between imagination and reality, so an untrained approach to dealing with unexpected outbursts can escalate already heightened emotions and increase volatility in the person’s behavior.

As a Senior Living Advisor and dementia specialist (Mike McClernon, 516-254-9481), I understand the frustrations that many families feel when trying to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at home. I’ve had the pleasure of recommending placement into many of the wonderful Memory Care communities on Long Island to give their loved ones the best quality of life possible.

Memory Care communities offer a specialized living environment for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Families often opt to place loved ones in Memory Care when their relative’s health and safety are at risk while living independently. Memory Care is staffed by trained professionals who know how to respond with warmth and empathy if a resident displays negative behavioral expressions.

One of the techniques Memory Care teams use is called redirection, which helps the person transition from an unsafe or unpleasant frame of mind to a place of contentment.

What is redirection in Memory Care?

Redirection involves shifting the person’s focus away from a situation that causes them fear, anger, anxiety, or from engaging in dangerous and unsafe behavior toward a state of calmness and enjoyment.

Generally, redirection involves three simple steps:

Validating their concerns

In most cases, someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia just wants their feelings heard and acknowledged. Validation comes through repeating back what the person has said to show that their concerns are being taken seriously.

Building trust

Trying to convince the person that they’re wrong or bringing them back to our “reality” can worsen the situation. Building trust by joining them in their “reality” will provide the opportunity to lead them to a positive distraction.

Present the distraction

The Memory Care environment includes many different creative activities, snacks, drinks, music, puzzles, and other meaningful activities that the person enjoys. Inviting the person to participate in one of these distractions will adjust their focus and de-escalate the situation.

Memory Care staff’s regular use of gentle approaches such as redirection brings families peace of mind that their loved one will always be treated with dignity and respect in every situation.

Empathetic support that avoids negative verbal redirection

The staff in Memory Care understand the importance of maintaining a supportive environment where empathy and support are vital to helping residents have a good day as often as possible.

This means avoiding negative verbal redirection to reassure the person that there isn’t anything wrong. Language and actions that seem dismissive or negate the individual’s concerns can make matters worse and upset them even further.

Positive redirection helps address their immediate need and communicates that the person’s concern is essential, even if the problem is in their imagination. The Memory Care team can then de-escalate the situation and return the person to a much better state with positive, enjoyable activities that bring them happiness.

Redirection – an essential part of a positive Memory Care experience

In Memory Care, the care, comfort, and contentment of residents are at the heart of everything the community does. This includes using redirection when needed, but also extends to every facet of Memory Care living.

For example, daily routines, such as set mealtimes, scheduled activities, and regular bedtimes, are tailored to the individual. These routines consider several factors, including their likes and dislikes, strengths and abilities, activities that bring them comfort, times of day they function best, and which previous at-home routines worked for them.

Memory Care’s mission is to treat residents with the utmost respect, care, and dignity you expect under all circumstances. Your loved one will never be alone on their Alzheimer’s disease or dementia journey in Memory Care.

No-cost help finding Assisted Living/Memory Care on Long Island

Memory Care communities are the best places for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to get the support they need to feel happy, fulfilled, and safe. When looking for the right community for your loved one on Long Island, contact Mike McClernon of Assisted Living Locators.

Mike has collaborated with hundreds of families just like yours to help find the most appropriate Assisted Living or Memory Care Community for their older relatives. He will ensure that you have all the information you need to decide where your loved ones will thrive and be well-cared for during their vintage years.

Contact Mike today at 516-254-9481 or to explore Senior Living Community options for the older person in your life. His phone is always on!