Being able to recall and use relevant information while performing a task is something that we are all used to. However, those with Alzheimer’s disease often have trouble with this and experience devastating changes to their working memory and other forms of cognitive functions. According to Alzheimers.net, “Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can cause seniors to withdraw from activities, family and friends.” Mental stimulation is composed of various activities that help reduce but not eliminate the effects of memory loss. Therefore going on group outings and providing mentally stimulating activities for those with memory loss is important to keeping your loved ones active and happy. Here are some ways you can provide mental stimulation to those with memory loss.
Getting out of your normal everyday environment is very important to help stimulate your entire body. Just by doing something as simple as going outside to the park or to the grocery store can provide you with some amazing health benefits. Not only does it provide a sense of belonging and culture, but it also allows you or a loved one to enjoy boosts to your mental and emotional states. Another great benefit to getting outside are the benefits of the natural sunlight on your skin and the fresh air that you breathe in. According to the Cleveland Clinic, ”Sunlight causes your body to produce vitamin D. Data is emerging that suggests sunlight — with its ability to produce vitamin D — may reduce the risk of hip fractures, high blood pressure and stroke or heart attack for older adults, the study says.” By participating in regular outings and activities will help keep older people mobile and independent longer.
Listen to Music
It is not uncommon for seniors, especially those with dementia, to experience some degree of memory loss. Music not only enhances the mood of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but it also improves their memory. Doctors at Mayo Clinic note that, “Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.” By being able to remember the words and sing along, seniors are able to feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment while accessing memories that those around them may have thought were lost.
Do Arts and Crafts
It can be difficult to accommodate seniors with dementia, an illness that makes one significantly mentally impaired. The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as, “An overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.” Art therapy can be a great way to treat dementia. This therapeutic activity can stimulate the brain and spark old memories as well as help substitute language for those who have difficulty speaking. Consider carving out some time during the day to create any form of art to boost brain functionally.
Interaction with Pets
Our furry friends are a part of the family and have therapeutic attributes that can improve the health and quality of life for you or your loved ones. Pet therapy has shown positive results for individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, especially when dogs are present. A study conducted at the Veterans Hospital presented, “Residents had more verbal interactions with each other when a dog was present in the room than when there was no dog present.” Pets can also be a great way to start up conversations and can bridge the gap between people of all ages.
At Spring Hills Senior Communities, we take pride in our ability to offer mental stimulation to our seniors in a plethora of different ways. Our traditional community activities are offered all year for residents to enjoy. However, our programs are highly interactive and engaging to move the body, intrigue the mind, and inspire the spirit. To learn more about our Signature Programs, click here.