As with most aspects in life, resourcefulness can go a long way when it comes to providing care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. At Inspired Home Care, we understand how challenging it can be to meet the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia care; during one day, the senior may feel calm and satisfied, while on the following day, endure increased anxiety and agitation.
The key is to continue to be adaptable, and have a variety of tools and resources accessible to utilize depending on the individual’s specific needs at the present time. Our Barrington caregiver professionals have compiled three unique strategies that can be extremely beneficial in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.
The acronym MAP stands for three forms of therapy:
The mind’s ability to retain memories in connection with music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is remarkable. Music can be included in a variety of ways for calming, engagement, and memory stimulation. A few ideas on how to integrate music in Alzheimer’s include:
- Discover which songs from the older adult’s younger years stimulate memories, and create a playlist on an iPod for the person to enjoy. Or, use a karaoke machine for sing-alongs. As the disease advances, musical preference will probably reflect the person’s childhood memories.
- Choose upbeat, lively songs and invite the individual to dance, based on his or her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along could be satisfying for people who are less mobile.
- Play peaceful, soothing music later in the day to help decrease the effects of sundowning, to reduce anxiety, as well as encourage sleep.
Art, in its numerous forms, is an excellent means of self-expression for all of us, but especially for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It enables tactile engagement and the strengthening of fine motor skills. Try a variety of mediums to determine what the senior most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.
Allowing your loved one to create whatever she or he wants can be effective, but if some guidance is preferred, try sharing a story from the older adult’s past first, and then asking him or her to convey the story through art.
Animals provide a sense of friendship and comfort different from any other, and many older adults are drawn to those that remind them of past pets. Simply petting or holding an animal has been shown to minimize blood pressure levels, stress, and anxiety, among a number of other benefits. During the advanced stages of the disease, a stuffed animal can also frequently provide feelings of comfort.
For additional innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s care, get in touch with the Barrington caregiver team at Inspired Home Care. Our caregivers are exclusively trained and knowledgeable in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and offer effective management methods for some of the more challenging components of the disease, such as wandering, agitation, sundowning, and more. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 for a free in-home consultation and to learn more about our Barrington caregiver team!