After a physician’s initial diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, the number of treatment options available will vary depending on the level of memory loss. While there is no known cure yet, several medications and successful therapies are out there to help your loved one with memory loss.
Therapies are a holistic approach to treatment and bring a positive impact on a senior’s wellbeing. Some of the leading approaches are music, art, pet, and reminiscence therapy.
Music not only soothes the soul, it can also improve cognitive ability. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has found that the ability to engage in music is reflected by their intact ability to respond to auditory rhythmic cues. The motor center of the brain allows for the music appreciation and aptitude to remain as the disease progresses.
Music is one of the therapies that can also be used as a great way to still communicate to those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, it also has an effect on contributing to the following:
- Memory recall
- Positive moods and better state of mind
- Finding the sense of control over life
- Non-pharmacological treatment of pain and discomfort
- Stimulation that promotes interest and motivation
- Structure that promotes rhythmic and continuous movement or vocal fluency to couple with physical rehabilitation
- Social interaction with others
Neurologist Oliver Sacks explains that music paired with everyday activities can help people recall the memory of the activity. The best choice for this is actually unfamiliar music, because it’s essentially a clean slate that does not have any previous connections with past memories, and only the new. Music from an adult’s younger years is great to be used for relaxing engagement and social responses.
Alzheimer’s.net, points out several reasons why music therapy is so effective:
- Boosts brain activity
- Evokes emotion which contributes to an individual’s ability to recall a memory
- Emotion from music connects the individual
- Music (particularly singing) is socially engaging
- Moods and stress can be managed and create positive interactions
Art is a way of communicating for many, whether they have memory loss or not. They can express themselves through the choice of colors and patterns in order to show emotion and feelings.
Similar to music therapy, art therapy is a calming way to help an individual engage and stimulate the brain. A number of known benefits can be found such as:
- Reduced anxiety
- Validation of experiences
- Social recognition, being acknowledged and making meaningful connections
Dogs and cats have always been associated with being faithful companions. Senior living communities have been more open to allowing pets – including The Kensington – in order to let their furry friends help them feel more at home. Allergies are no match for our Robo-Pet Therapy Program, which uses robotic cats and dogs to decrease anxiety, and increase interaction with others.
For those with memory loss, it can help in many ways. Pets can easily bring a smile to a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia by having a non-threatening presence, as another person might. They are able to get enjoyment which can, in turn, reduce agitation and anxiety. With this, studies have then shown results such as better nutrition, physical activity, and lower blood pressure.
Reminiscence therapy is a unique form that utilizes the senses in order to help one recall a memory. Unlike other therapies, light, sound, touch, smells, and taste are tapped into with objects and activities to help those with Alzheimer’s and dementia relive moments from their past.
Storytelling prompted through music from a senior’s teenage years or making a family recipe passed down through generations are just some of the ways this therapy is done. Reminiscing happy times boosts mood and positivity for an individual. This helps relieve agitation, stress, and can make them feel more connected to the present.
Life Enrichment at The Kensington
At The Kensington White Plains, our team helps residents affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia using these state-of-the-art therapies. The routine of each day is given one goal: to bring joy to each day.
Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. The Kensington’s memory care offers two neighborhoods that cater to the needs of different levels of Alzheimer’s and dementia, giving your loved one individualized care.
Your loved one can feel safe and secure with our 24/7 monitoring and exceptional staff to resident ratio. Our on-site rehabilitation center offers physical, occupational, and speech therapists that can capitalize on improving independence and recovery after hospitalization.