Have you ever experienced that jolt of a distant memory that suddenly pops to the forefront of your mind, perhaps through a song, a scent, an image from the past? For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the strength of long-term memory is particularly impactful, as short-term memory weakens. And it’s what has sparked a growing trend in creative Alzheimer’s care: reminiscence therapy.
One elaborate example is the transformation of a 9,000-square-foot building in Chula Vista, California, into an interactive 1950s town, complete with storefronts such as a diner, a movie theater, and a clinic, all in operation just as they would have been during that era. Further exploration of the facility will lead you to a 1959 T-Bird, large-scale military airplane models, and an office where staff peck away at manual typewriters.
In reality, this incredible facility is an ultra-engaging adult day/memory care unit. Scott Tarde, CEO, explains, “It definitely made sense to me to create an environment that resonated strongly with people, instead of just four walls and a television.”
Dr. Daniel Bateman, geriatric psychiatrist at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, concurs: “It’s cutting edge and it’s exciting work. One of the great pieces about the concept is that it really focuses on maintaining the dignity and the humanity of people with dementia, which can often be lost.”
If your loved one lives far from such an amenity as the facility in Chula Vista, never fear: there are plenty of steps you can take to foster reminiscing right at home. Pull out old photos and talk through them with the senior to get to know more about what life was like when he or she was younger, and what was most important during that time; and then expand upon that. For instance, if the person loved gardening, set out some potting soil, small clay pots, a trowel, and seeds and allow the senior to enjoy working with those familiar items. Or if baking was a favorite pastime, continue to provide opportunities for the senior to mix ingredients, roll out pie crust, etc.
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, we bring creative concepts such as these into the homes of those with dementia, with specialized, person-centered, professional Alzheimer’s care. We get to know each individual’s life story, and incorporate those details into our plan of care to ensure that life is lived to the fullest each and every day. Contact us at (404) 228-0103 to learn more about our Altanta dementia care experts and to request a free in-home consultation, and discover a more meaningful and enjoyable lifestyle for your loved one.