3 Therapeutic Approaches To Look For When Choosing A Memory-Care Facility

Posted on: 20 October 2016

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When your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, not only is the news difficult, but there is also added complexity when you consider making decisions about long-term care. Although there are many wonderful facilities to keep your loved one safe, you should consider additional services designed to address their specific needs and retain their remaining independence.

Music Therapy

More facilities are utilizing music therapy for their dementia patients. In the latter stages of dementia, when your loved one has episodes of memory loss or confusion, they may easily revert back to a time many decades ago, while losing more recent memories. When integrating music therapy, staff in memory-care environments may work with each resident during their lucid periods to determine types of music they enjoy. Your loved one's favorite "oldies" are often a better choice because the music may trigger memories, especially fond ones.

Depending on the physical capabilities of your loved one, they may be equipped with their own MP3 player to enjoy a tailored playlist at their leisure. If they experience significant physical limitations, they may have their playlist playing on repeat near their bed. Music can also be used as a tool during episodes of irritability or fear to help calm your loved one. This can be especially important in some cases of dementia where residents may physically lash out at others or engage in other offensive behaviors, such as name calling. Finding their favorite soothing music may reduce these angry outbursts.

"Help Thy Self"

Dementia and related conditions are progressive. Your loved one may be able to perform some self-care activities on their own, but they may need a helping hand. Although the staff at memory-care facilities are there to help your loved one with these tasks, they should integrate methods that allow your loved one to maintain some of their independence a little longer. For example, new tools are often invented specifically to make daily activities easier for people with dementia.

One such item is dinnerware that makes eating food easier and less confusing. Although such items seem like a small detail, they can make a significant difference in the care of your loved one. It is often easier and less time consuming on memory-care staff or other caregivers to simply feed or dress a resident who is having difficulties instead of integrating tactics to help residents perform these tasks on their own. When your loved one receives assistance and encouragement to perform activities within their capabilities, they may retain these skills longer than if someone were to perform the activities for them.

Cognitive Stimulation

Keeping residents mentally engaged is especially beneficial for people with early-stage dementia. One such treatment approach is cognitive stimulation therapy (CST), which can be used in the residential setting. There can be multiple advantages to CST, especially when sessions are offered in a group format. Mainly, the activities help with retention of cognitive skills. Although no current medications or therapies are curative for dementia and related conditions, improved retention of cognitive skills can help residents retain some independence longer, improve communication, and reduce confusion.

Additionally, since the initial treatments typically occur in a group format, there can be a social benefit to therapy. Living in a memory-care facility or other assistive environment can be isolating or contribute to depression for some residents. Engaging in group therapy can help with some of the psychological impacts of no longer living independently.

Although your major concern when selecting a memory care facilities is keeping your loved one safe, you should consider other services that can improve lucidity and the dignity that comes with retaining some independence. There are an increasing number of tactics and devices used to improve the quality of memory care.