Posted on | March 16, 2012
From pets to music to calming aromas, there are a plethora of therapies out there that can benefit an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s review these various therapies and how they can help an Alzheimer’s patient.
Music therapy is one of my favorite kinds because it is a neutral space where different individuals can meet over something enjoyed by all. In my experience, I have not met an individual with dementia who has not enjoyed music on some level. Offering musical therapy, whether it’s listening to a recording, watching and listening to a live performer, or even creating some music of their own, is an activity I would recommend on a daily basis for an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Even those who did not enjoy music much before the onset of the disease often benefit from it, since Alzheimer’s can cause shifts in personality as it progresses.
Pet therapy is another beneficial and soothing way to create a feeling of calm and contentment among Alzheimer’s patients. Service animals are nondiscriminatory and nonjudgmental – they don’t care if a patient is confused or worried, or if they have dementia – they are simply looking for a friendly pat on the head and a smile. I’d recommend this therapy on a regular basis as well.
Finally, let’s examine aroma therapy, which is also one of my favorite types of therapy. This often calls to mind thoughts of lavender and other soothing smells, which are excellent in some cases, but for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, aroma therapy can be so much more. The smell of mustard may remind them of a 4th of July cookout – the smell of fresh cut grass reminds them of their husband mowing the lawn on a warm summer day. These scents aren’t “soothing” by definition but they do spur memories and happy reminiscing, and those with Alzheimer’s often retain an excellent sense of smell, making this therapy ideal. The memories that these aromas trigger can spur happy conversations that go on for hours.
Incorporating the above therapies into the care of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient will often yield some wonderful results, so don’t hesitate to try!
About the Author:
Bridges® by EPOCH is the evolution of EPOCH Senior Living’s renowned memory care program BRIDGES®. Recognizing that a free-standing community devoted entirely to caring for those with memory challenges can provide more focused care, an enhanced lifestyle and a more fulfilling environment, Bridges® by EPOCH is the realization of EPOCH’s commitment to improving the lives of all those touched by Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. EOEA Certification Application Pending.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the senior living industry, Alicia Seaver is committed to making a difference in the lives of seniors. Prior to joining the Bridges® by EPOCH team, Alicia held various positions at senior living communities in Florida and Massachusetts, including Executive Director of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care and Memory Care Program Director at Emeritus Senior Living. Through her extensive experience, Alicia gained valuable knowledge and expertise that will allow her to truly make a difference in the lives of residents at Bridges® by EPOCH at Hingham. Additionally, Alicia is certified by the National Institute on Aging as a Memory Impairment Specialist and is certified in both Massachusetts and Florida as a State Certified Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Trainer. Alicia is excited to be part of an organization that is as dedicated to providing high quality, individualized care to seniors as she is. Alicia currently lives in South Shore with her husband and two daughters.