Dementia can certainly frustrate and agitate an elderly loved one. It hurts to see them suffer, but fortunately, there are some unique therapies to help alleviate the disease’s symptom. The great part is, you can do them with a senior right in your own home! Here are three of the best:
Let that light shine! A good therapy light is a great way to restore a natural sleep pattern for seniors with dementia. The disease is known to damage the part of the brain that controls our 24-hour day to night sleep cycle, a mechanism known as circadian rhythms. When this cycle is interfered with, sleep disturbances can occur. Usually, they are very temporary like jet-lag, for example. But for those afflicted with dementia, getting back to normal is a little more difficult. However, there is hope! Studies show that daily exposure to a bright spectrum light can help dementia patients restore their circadian rhythms. They’ll suffer less from sleep disorders, sleep longer and get that amazing deep beauty sleep to feel refreshed in the morning.
Music may be magic after all! Clinical studies have shown that familiar and likable music reduces depression, agitation and other problematic behaviors in adults with dementia. This is because of the strong connection between the human brain’s auditory cortex and its limbic system, where long-term memory and emotions are processed. So, have a look at your elderly loved ones record or tape collection to find out what music he or she likes. It’ll be a fun project! Try investigating popular musicians and songs from the senior’s era on internet services like Spotify and iTunes.
Spending time with lifelike dolls can become an integral part of seniors’ day to day responsibilities. When they love and care for them, this can bring back positive, happy memories of early parenthood and make seniors with dementia feel useful.
It’s time to break out those family photos! Evidence suggests that stimulating long-term memory can also improve short-term memory in dementia patients. So, even though a senior may not remember what he or she ate for breakfast, the senior is more likely to remember something more significant like a wedding day or a favorite pet. Work with multi-sensory items like photographs, film clips or even a past birthday present. Discover the beautiful life journey of the senior you love.