Alzheimer’s and dementia patients gain from being productive and engaged. Memory care homes offer activities and entertainment to foster social connection, relieve anxiety, stimulate the brain, and inspiring accomplishment. What are the activities to help with memory care?
“We provide the care they need and the engagement and opportunities they want.” Matching residents with enjoyable activities generate great results. Well-rounded therapy can reduce cognitive decline and memory loss. According to the National Institute on Aging, a balance of calming and engaging activities helps minimize wandering, hostility, and restlessness.
Discover eight typical therapies used by memory care communities, how they build and adapt group activities for dementia patients, and how memory care activities and engagement stations can boost personal success and slow memory loss. Always search best memory care facilities near me for your loved ones.
Dementia therapies calm, stimulate, and engage all five senses. Multiple therapies assist slow cognitive decline, lessening anxiety, reducing the risk of falls, reducing antipsychotic drug use, and increasing well-being, according to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Communities customize programming to their inhabitants, but comfort and stimulation are the main goals.
Here are 8 memory-care therapies.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine says familiar music can boost memory, lower stress, reduce agitation, and improve cognition. Music therapy is used in many ways in communities.
- Encouraging musically inclined individuals to play or sing, music-related muscle memory generally stays while verbal and mental abilities deteriorate.
- Host hymn, holiday, or school song sing-alongs.
- Giving residents maracas or shakers to make music
- Music therapists provide weekly music workshops for residents.
Faces, forms, colors, and sounds stimulate seniors’ brains. Videos of familiar places and people comfort dementia patients by transporting them to happier times. The following are types of video therapy:
- Home videos for each resident
- Shows and movies from the 1940s to the 1980s
- Residents with travel video
- Playing recorded performances and events might spark fond recollections, such as the moon landing.
Stimulating therapy fights boredom, which causes anxiety, restlessness, and wandering. Communities plan cognitively stimulating therapy for residents. Some therapies:
Various picture puzzle collections
- Residents to explore sensory boxes or boards for textural stimulation
- Host games that stimulate friendly rivalries, like matching tiles or charades.
- Encourage physical and cerebral stimulation, such as tossing colorful bags into baskets or dancing to diverse sounds.
- Workbooks, brain games, classic games, and puzzles that foster problem-solving can give engaging challenges based on each resident’s aptitude level.
Items for memory boxes may include:
- An album
- The apron
- A precious ornament
- Favorite art
- A wedding dress, uniform, or favorite outfit
- Nature sounds or family voices
- Wax or sachets scented like home
- a cook’s wooden spoon or a carpenter’s sandpaper
Visitors can utilize the memory box as a conversation starter, adds Martinez. A familiar selection can give families precious time together without the pressure to chat.
Crafts provide a creative outlet for memory care individuals of all skill levels. Painting, painting, and crafts offer expression and exercise fine motor abilities. According to a 2018 research of 250 memory care residents in Trials, even viewing art improves memory and cognition.
Art therapy is used in many communities.
- Like music skills, creative muscle memory can endure when linguistic and mental abilities deteriorate.
- Offering outdated magazines or images for collages
- Playing slideshows of famous paintings or museum trips
- Multicolored clay to feel, sculpt and create with
- Employing art instructors to teach residents
Interacting with dogs reduces loneliness and boosts happiness. Animal-assisted treatment can enhance dementia patients’ physical health, lower blood pressure, stimulate movement, and improve eating habits, according to a 2019 review. While some memory care facilities offer a community pet, therapy dogs or cats are more frequent. Animal therapy may include:
- Less able residents are helped to pet a cat or dog by staff.
- Colorful fish tanks provide visual stimulation.
- Realistic, robotic cats or dogs for risk-free pet therapy – engagement with robotic pets provides similar benefits to therapy with live creatures.
- A fun bird for residents to feed
- Watching puppies or active canines play outdoors or in communal areas
- Taste and smell therapy
- All five senses are used in memory care. Scent therapy includes coffee, Christmas trees, and newly cut grass to evoke strong emotions in patients. Scents and flavors evoke memory faster than sights and noises. We process odors instantly and subconsciously.
According to Alexi Senior Living, aromatherapy is the fastest-growing supplemental treatment in memory care. Some communities encourage citizens to use their senses by:
- A classic gingerbread recipe inspires holiday memories.
- Guess the fragrances of essential oils or wax melts
- Each morning, inhabitants wake up to the smell of strong coffee.
- Chocolate chip cookies or apple pie smells enhance appetite.
- Tactile stimulation
- Research reveals that contact increases trust and relaxation while lowering hostility, tremors, and picking. The community uses tactile stimulation in several ways.
- Residents are asked to close their eyes and identify objects by touches, such as a plush animal or wooden spoon.
- Sorting velvet, fur, or silk for dementia patients
- Using a resident’s possessions, such as a wedding dress or cufflinks, can trigger remembrance of special moments.
- Making texture boards from carpet, tile, sandpaper, or stones for residents to identify
Activities for dementia patients
Since the late 1980s, dementia care has significantly improved. In the past, memory care activities were classified by cognitive decline, resulting in less stimulation for those with late-stage dementia. Now, memory care activities are based on resident interests. We learn new residents’ likes, dislikes, and interests, says, Hash. Based on hobbies, we build activities and encourage participation.
How Communities Tailor Memory Care to Interest and Ability
Whether group activities focus on rehabilitation, a special occasion, or a cherished hobby, the idea is to give each resident a means to participate and feel included, regardless of their dementia level. “As people transition through their trip and become less capable, we can change their activities.”
Day of the Watermelon
- Celebrating National Doughnut, Puzzle, and Grandparents Days help memory care institutions build community. Holidays provide variation to residents’ lives. Memory care activities director Makayla Keith adapted activities so everyone at Traditions could celebrate National Watermelon Day.
- Some residents drew and painted watermelons.
- Others got watermelon outlines to fill with tissue paper like a jigsaw.
- Residents who don’t like crafts helped remove watermelon seeds to count and sort.
- Those with advanced dementia touched watermelon and used melon-scented wax for therapy.
- Residents ended the party by eating watermelon.
Memory care communities let gardeners enjoy their activities regardless of cognition.
- A dementia patient planned, planted and picked weeds in a garden.
- Residents with mobility issues use raised garden beds.
- Others dig in pots or water with a can.
- Cognitively impaired residents benefit from seeing fresh flowers, sitting in the sun, or smelling the garden.
- Bouquets on dinner tables and in visitation rooms enliven memory care for everyone, even nongardeners.
Independent Memory Care Ideas
- Group activities are key to memory care, but independent inquiry and work help. Communities foster accomplishment and self-sufficiency by encouraging elders in memory care to pursue their own interests. Studies suggest enjoyable activities lessen dementia patients’ anxiety and slow cognitive deterioration.
- Autonomous engagement stations are standard in memory care settings.
- “If a person is restless at night and wants to get up, the autonomous zones are a safe setting.”
- Since dementia patients cognitively revert to their youth, engagement stations replicate everyday situations from decades ago. Variables depend on resident populations. You may discover a farm-like setting in a rural location or a massive office in a city.
- Many jobs can be found at life skills stations.
- Simulated office with typewriter, phone, notepads, adding machine, and stamps
- Indoor garden with pots, fake plants, bulbs, and soil. Depending on whether the station is staffed, residents may be able to work with potted plants or artificial plants. Artificial plant arrangements could be made for dining tables.
- Hardware store with blunt tools, smooth wood, and toolboxes
- A nursery or childcare station featuring dolls, a crib, bottles, and baby clothes to fold promotes involvement and communication in people with dementia.
- A farm or animal station containing hay bales, agricultural implements, or realistic toy animals; with supervision, animal areas could include a communal bird, cat, or fish.
Are you looking for memory care? But what are the signs? Read signs it’s time for memory care. Alexi Senior Living is well-known for its services and fulfills all the memory care requirements. For more information, call 815-534-5389.