Alzheimer’s Disease

Just like many things in life, innovation can go a long way in terms of providing care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. At Live Free Home Health Care, we understand how challenging it may be to meet the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia; on a single day, your loved one could possibly feel peaceful and satisfied, while on the day after, experience elevated anxiety and agitation.

The main thing is always to stay flexible, and to have a variety of tools and resources to draw from according to the individual’s particular requirements at any given moment. Our Franklin home health professionals have compiled three unique suggestions that can be especially effective in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.

The acronym MAP stands for three types of therapy:

Music

The mind’s ability to retain memories pertaining to music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is impressive. Music can be integrated to assist with soothing, engagement, and memory stimulation. A few strategies to integrate music in Alzheimer’s include:

  • Determine what songs from the senior’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 more than likely reflect the senior’s childhood memories.
  • Choose upbeat, lively songs and encourage the individual to dance, based on his or her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along is usually enjoyable for those who are less mobile.
  • Play relaxing, soothing music in the afternoon to help decrease the effects of sundowning, to lower anxiety, and to encourage sleep.

Art

Art, in its numerous forms, is a wonderful strategy for self-expression for everyone, especially individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, it provides for tactile engagement and strengthening of fine motor skills. Try a variety of mediums to learn what the senior most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.

Allowing the individual to create whatever she or he wants is normally effective; yet if some direction is preferred, try sharing a story from the senior’s past first, and then asking her or him to convey the story through art.

Pets

Animals offer a sense of companionship and nurturing unlike any other, and lots of older adults are drawn to those that remind them of past pets. Spending some time simply petting or holding an animal has been shown to reduce blood pressure, 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.

For additional innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s care, connect with the Franklin home health team at Live Free Home Health Care. Our caregivers are specially trained and knowledgeable in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and provide effective management approaches for some of the more difficult aspects of the disease, including wandering, agitation, sundowning, and much more. Contact us at 603-217-0149 for a free of charge in-home consultation to find out more about our Franklin home health care services!

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