One thing that’s really important to help support someone with a memory impairment, or someone with dementia, is to make sure they have stimulation during the day. Seasoned caregivers and other specially trained professionals that work closely with patients diagnosed with memory issues know that behavior is often a form of communication. Speech-language pathologist Carmen, with Encompass Home Health shares, “Oftentimes, we have to figure out what they (the patient) is trying to communicate with behavior. And one of those things sometimes can be sundowning, depending on the individual. One of the best ways to decrease sundowning is to make sure there is stimulation during the day.”
How To Help encourage Stimulation In Memory Care.
You can do this with preferred activities that are relevant to the person’s past. Or you can talk with them about current events. Avoid negative stories in the news and other shows that are on television. Positive family happenings that will bring them encouragement are also a great idea! Encourage expressions of opinion, and related memories, during the conversation. Be mindful not to project your own opinions into the mix. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about an opportunity for them to be stimulated in conversation on those topics that are important to them. You can use photo albums, magazines, photography, books, puzzles, games, music is amazing, hobbies, and other simple exercises. The goal is simply to make sure that they have something to do. Carmen shares again, as a professional, experienced in working with patients suffering from memory care issues, “There are three things that I think people need. They need something to love or someone to love. Something to do. And something to look forward to.” Ensuring that the person suffering from memory loss is stimulated, and has something to do, gives them a sense of purpose in the world. Something as simple as having them help with folding laundry to keep them active and stimulated can make all the difference in the world. Just having a one on one conversation, and pointing out a painting on the wall, and saying, “Oh, look at how beautiful that mountain is! I would love to be there today.” You’d be amazed at what they might say.
Music is important because we can connect to music on an emotional level. Sometimes if somebody’s having a rotten day and you want to redirect them, playing their favorite type of music can really help calm them and minimize behaviors. The goal of stimulation is to keep the agitation minimal for them, and the frustration at a minimum for you, the caregiver. The key is to make sure you’re stimulating them in little ways throughout the daytime hours. On the flip side, too much stimulation can be incredibly overwhelming for a memory care patient. It is important to keep that in mind when you are caring for someone suffering from memory issues.
Final Tips And Tricks
Pay close attention when attempting to engage with a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Each individual is unique in the care and assistance they require. Each person may respond differently to the activities and interventions attempted by the caregiver. Be mindful of your approach and keep in mind that although an intervention or activity may have been effective once, it may not produce the same results the next time. Continue to brainstorm different ideas and attempt new activities as a way to offer regular stimulation and interaction with your loved one. As the family member or friend of someone living in memory care, you can partner with the facility staff to come up with new, effective types of activities that can help provide meaningful stimulation for the resident. If you have questions, or would like more information about how stimulation through conversation and activities can benefit someone suffering from memory care issues, please contact The Gables Assisted Living and Memory Care at 208.357.3323.
Carmen, Speech Pathologist, Encompass Home Health https://www.encompasshealth.com/