As with many aspects in life, a small amount of creativity goes a long way in terms of providing dementia care for a senior loved one. At At-Home Care Company, we understand how challenging it can be to fulfill the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia; on a single day, a senior loved one could feel peaceful and content, while on the next day, experience increased anxiety and agitation.
The best approach is to remain flexible, and have multiple tools and resources at the ready to draw from depending on the individual’s particular needs at the moment. Our experienced home care professionals have compiled three unique recommendations that can be extremely beneficial in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.
The acronym MAP stands for three kinds of therapy:
The mind’s ability to hold memories connected to music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is remarkable. Music can be integrated in a variety of ways for relaxing, engagement, and memory stimulation. Just a couple of ways to utilize music in Alzheimer’s include:
- Determine which songs from the senior’s younger years trigger memories, and make a playlist on an iPod for the person to enjoy. Or, use a karaoke machine for sing-alongs. As the disease progresses, musical preference will probably reflect the person’s childhood memories.
- Choose upbeat, lively songs and invite your loved one to dance, based on his or her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along can be satisfying for folks who are less mobile.
- Play quiet, soothing music later during the day to help decrease the effects of sundowning, to lower anxiety, and also to encourage sleep.
Art, in its countless forms, is a superb method of self-expression for everyone, including individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. It allows for tactile engagement and strengthening of fine motor skills. Try multiple mediums to find out what the individual most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.
Allowing your loved one to make whatever she or he wants is often effective; however, if some direction is preferred, try discussing a story from the older adult’s past first, and then asking him or her to express the story through art.
Animals provide a feeling of companionship and nurturing unlike any other, and many seniors are attracted to those that remind them of past pets. Spending time simply petting or holding an animal has been shown to decrease blood pressure levels, stress, and anxiety, among a great many other benefits. In the advanced stages of the disease, a stuffed animal may also often provide feelings of comfort.
For more creative approaches and ideas on activities for older adults with dementia, contact the providers of senior care Des Moines, IA families trust for more information. Our caregivers are specially trained and knowledgeable in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and provide effective management approaches for some of the more challenging components of the disease, like wandering, agitation, sundowning, and more. Reach out to At-Home Care Company at (515) 292-2650 for a no cost in-home consultation and for more information!