Alzheimer’s or Dementia

As with many aspects of life, some innovation goes a long way with regards to providing care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. At Hearts at Home In-Home Care, we understand fully how challenging it may be to meet the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia; during one day, your loved one may feel peaceful and content, while on the following day, experience increased anxiety and agitation.

One of the keys is to try to stay flexible, and to have a number of tools and resources accessible to draw from according to the individual’s specific needs at a particular moment. Our dementia care Kansas City professionals have put together three unique tips that can be very successful in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.

The acronym MAP is short for three different types of therapy:

Music

The mind’s ability to hold memories connected to music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is astounding. Music can be integrated in a variety of ways for soothing, engagement, and memory stimulation. A few tips on how to integrate music in Alzheimer’s include:

  • Determine which songs from the senior’s younger years spark memories, and make a playlist on a smartphone for the person to enjoy. Or, use a karaoke machine for sing-alongs. As the disease progresses, musical preferences will likely reflect the person’s childhood memories.
  • Select upbeat, lively songs and invite the senior to dance, based upon his or her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along tends to be satisfying for people who are less mobile.
  • Play quiet, calming music later in the day to help decrease the effects of sundowning, to lessen anxiety, and to promote sleep.

Art

Art, in its countless forms, is an excellent means of self-expression for all of us, including for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it allows for tactile engagement and strengthening of fine motor skills. Try a number of mediums to discover what your loved one most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.

Allowing your loved one to make whatever he or she wants is generally effective, but if some guidance is preferred, try discussing a story from the senior’s past first, and then asking her or him to convey the story through art.

Pets

Animals offer a feeling of comfort and nurturing unique from any other, and a lot of older adults are drawn to those that remind them of past pets. Hanging out and simply petting or holding an animal has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels, stress, and anxiety, among various other benefits. In the advanced stages associated with the disease, a stuffed animal can also often provide feelings of comfort.

To learn more creative approaches to Alzheimer’s care, contact the dementia care Kansas City team at Hearts at Home In-Home Care. Our caregivers are specially trained and knowledgeable in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and offer effective management approaches for some of the more difficult components of the disease, like wandering, agitation, sundowning, and other behaviors. Reach out or call us at 913-440-4209 for a free in-home consultation and to learn more about our top-rated home care in Kansas City, MO!

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