The initial diagnosis of dementia raises a lot of concern, fear, and uncertainty. The progression of the disease will vary from one individual to the next, and the professional help of a physician can determine what care plan will best suit them. Therapies are an integral part of maintaining cognitive function and independence as long as possible, or are simply aimed to bring them enjoyment.
The goal is to stimulate the brain and nurture positive emotions, but in a careful way that prevents them from being overwhelmed. Depending on the situation, a senior with dementia may be prescribed one or more types of therapy to help vastly improve their quality of life.
Types of Dementia Therapy
Reminiscence Therapy. The tactic of associating an object, sight, smell, or sound to help jog pleasant memories is one way of bringing positive stimulation to the brain. It can also lead to hearing a family story you may not have heard before!
Ask about the town they grew up in, play one of their favorite Hank William or Frank Sinatra tunes, or bake a family recipe that is normally present at holiday gatherings. Photos are another great tool to open the door to reminiscing. This therapy is good for one-on-one and group settings.
Reminiscence is a fun and easier therapy that can even be replicated into a family activity. It is essentially spawning a literal trip down memory lane for someone. Personal identity and awareness can be obtained from reliving memories from the past, and help connect them to the present.
Music Therapy. Melodies are a universal language. Music can bring anyone together and inspire mood boosts to people of all ages. Board-certified music therapists are capable of using music as a therapeutic tool for those with dementia by encouraging communication, mental stimulation, and to evoke memory.
Music has a subconscious relationship with a person’s memory. Older songs from a senior’s past may be associated with specific memories from that time of their life, and inspire pleasant memory recall.
In addition to brain stimulation, singing helps aid the individual with dialogue and communication. Speaking and conversation tend to become more difficult in the later stages of dementia, but through lyrics and songs, the senior can be given an outlet for connection and verbal interaction.
Speech Therapy. Verbal communication is one of the main goals and abilities that speech pathologists work to preserve. In addition to speaking, they also work with patients on addressing swallowing and eating issues. They are able to offer management strategies for meals, as well as other ways to communicate when speaking is more of a challenge.
Speech therapy works to build alternatives and strengthen ability, but is also a great stimulant for mental ability. Addressing articulation and giving them one-on-one attention is an effective way to help them build up confidence with their abilities and make the most of their current stage.
Physical Therapy. Physical therapy is used for rebuilding strength, mobility, and balance. It is often associated with recovery from falls, procedures, or physical injuries. So how does this work to improve brain health?
The physical movement from this type of therapy raises the level of circulation and blood flow. Increased blood flow to the brain assists in boosting brain function. Depending on the senior’s form of dementia, activities are made very individualized to incorporate familiar actions and favorite pastimes that will ultimately motivate them.
Laughter, the Best Medicine
Finding ways to bring joy and happiness to a loved one with dementia is of the most importance. While there is no cure, there are so many ways that wellbeing can be improved through mood-boosting therapies such as these.
Making time for laughter and fun, as well as keeping things light-hearted is another way to find the good in each day. If you are in need of additional help regarding their daily care, hiring in-home aides or looking into a dementia care community may be of best interest.
Most memory care communities like The Kensington offer these state-of-the-art dementia therapies on-site. You can rest assured that not only are their care needs met, but they are also in a regular schedule of therapy in a home-like environment.
Have questions about how we can be your partners in memory care? Get in touch with us today! We differ from other communities through compassion and expertise, and promise to love and care for loved ones, as we do our very own.