Memory Care Providers Embrace Innovative Interventions
Not that long ago, designated “memory care” did not exist in elder care. Care for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia differed little from that received by the general senior population. Psychological issues presenting in dementia patients were managed with medication and mostly ineffective and often intrusive behavioral interventions. Senior living did not include the specialized housing options available now, such as built-in extra safety measures and quality of life enhancements.
Innovations in Memory Care
An article on Alfa.org outlines many of the innovative improvements in providing housing, healthcare and interventions designed especially for seniors with memory impairment. In addition to safety concerns, emphasis is now placed on providing stimulation to memory care patients. In assisted living communities, interior courtyards allow residents to have outdoor access and the enjoyment of interacting with nature.
Other interventions rely on technology and new treatment theories that have proven effective.
- Brain games – Software programs accessible on mobile devices such as iPads are being used to stimulate patients’ memories, cognition, senses, and actively engage them with their community.
- Video chats – Touch screens allowing memory care residents to stay connected to family and friends.
- New advances in safety – While closed-circuit emergency monitoring and call response systems have been in place for several years, new technological advances allow senior living communities to provide even faster and comprehensive safety and healthcare services.
Older Therapies Still Utilized
Just as innovations in memory care facilities have expanded the repertoire of care for memory care residents, the older, proven therapies have remained strong. Using art and music therapy-driven practices allows providers to engage patients and help them relate to both their past and also their current status. A program utilized at Senior Lifestyle Corp., for example, identifies what type of music a resident responds to, or perhaps listened to in the past. The music is then used throughout the day to provide continuity and help seniors stay connected to the present.
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