As individuals with dementia decline, they increasingly exhibit limitations; however, it’s important to keep in mind that not all abilities are lost. Especially in the early and middle stages of the disease, these individuals are capable of making meaningful contributions and experiencing joy. Providing opportunities to facilitate such experiences is key.
Most Alzheimer's and dementia patients benefit from being in social settings and engaging in communication. Sadly, the exact opposite frequently occurs, either because the patient withdraws or because there are no longer suitable social settings.
One of the easiest ways to get an Alzheimer's or dementia patient socialized and communicating is through an adult day center specifically designed and licensed to cater to such patients. This is especially true if the care center includes activities that use the parts of the brain that are still functioning, such as music, art, and memory games.
The program at Our PLACE is both beneficial and enjoyable for individuals with dementia. It incorporates a variety of daily activities with a focus on the core needs of physical exercise, mental exercise, socialization, communication and hydration.
Sensory stimulation consists of anything that stimulates one of the five senses. Research suggests that sensory stimulation can have short-term positive effects on behavior and psychological well-being in individuals with dementia.
Physical activity is beneficial for both physical and mental health. It can improve mood and quality of life in individuals in all stages of the disease. Research suggests that regular exercise (at least twice a week) may also help reduce or delay functional limitations in individuals with dementia by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain.
Music is an enjoyable and important therapeutic activity for many adults with dementia, in both the active and passive sense. Although adults with dementia may be unable to recall names or dates, many still remember the words or melodies of music they played or listened to throughout their lives.
Art programs for individuals with dementia have been shown to improve quality of life and reduce some of the behavioral and emotional symptoms of the disease. The unique value of art for this population is that there is no right or wrong. Art programs also provide a unique opportunity for individuals to interact with others.
Reminiscence therapy has many benefits. It generates happy memories and cultivates positive feelings. Reminiscing can also help instill in individuals with dementia a sense of value and contribution, as they love sharing their stories with others.
Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Studies show that those people with a broader network of social experience in earlier stages of dementia are able to slow down the progression of memory loss more than those whose network is very small.
Structure and Routine
Having structure and routine are important for dementia patients since sudden or sporadic exposure to new sites and people can feel threatening to the individual. Activities should always occur in a safe and nurturing environment with trained staff who can pick up on subtle clues as to the best way to interact with each individual.