One of the most heart wrenching changes with the onset of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia is a loved one’s loss of connection to their world, their family, and the extraordinary life they lived. Sensory design and stimulation is a proven approach that helps trigger memories, helps an individual feel safe, relaxed and even elevate moods. Researchers around the globe have been studying the positive impact of sensory design and stimulation when caring for individual’s suffering from memory loss.
At The Moments, we implement our uniquely-designed sensory design to help our residents by stimulating every one of their five senses – taste, touch, sight, smell and sound – on a daily basis.
Sensory Design Method
The sensory design method is our approach to memory care at The Moments. Our method involves activating at least one of the senses each moment of every day for our residents. From the soft sheets on our residents’ beds, to the smell and taste of the chef-designed meals we serve, our sensory-driven approach to memory care is a carefully curated experience on all levels stimulating all of the senses.
Sensory and memory stimulation therapies have the potential to help improve many issues related to dementia for people living in long-term care settings, according to a study published in a medical journal in 2018. Our approach makes sure that our residents’ minds are kept active and inspired while giving them a sense of comfort, security, purpose, and meaning.
Traditional memory care is focused on pharmaceutical interventions to treat negative behaviors associated with dementia such as aggression, anxiety and agitation. At The Moments, we implement sensory-driven methods to support the overall positive well-being of our residents in the immediate and long term.
How Sensory Design is Implemented at The Moments
So how does the sensory design method work? The following are the ways in which we use each of the five senses to help our residents at The Moments Memory Care.
At The Moments Memory Care, we engage our residents’ sense of taste by providing chef-designed, small-plate meals in a family-style environment. This makes mealtimes exciting and encourages social engagement with other residents while also enticing the residents’ taste and touch. Our residents are also invited to help our skilled kitchen staff prepare meals by participating in tasks like washing berries, shucking corn, or helping bake breads and cookies. We know that great food helps our residents feel loved and at home.
The care team at The Moments Memory Care ensures our residents regularly experience the soothing and warm nature of a caring and helpful hand, such as a therapeutic hand massage and a manicure. Research also proves that tactile experiences are incredibly stimulating to the mind, so we provide tactile intervention and sensory shape sorting activities.
The Moments Memory Care features a therapeutic approach to lighting in our community. There are large windows throughout the building maximizing the presence of natural light. Additionally, a high-tech circadian lighting system is installed in the resident wings because we know how important and healthy it is for our residents to stay on a natural circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. We also provide color therapy, art therapy, guided nature imagery, and visual cueing, such as unique mailboxes outside each resident’s room, and wayfinding devices throughout the community for our residents.
Another priority at The Moments is an odor neutral environment. Installed is a hospital-grade HVAC system that exchanges air up to six times per hour creating a clean and odor-free community environment. We also provide therapeutic essential oil intervention, which can be used to reduce agitation, stimulate appetite and improve alertness.
Music therapy is one of the most effective forms of engagement for individuals who are living with dementia. At The Moments, we provide daily opportunities to participate in “The Moments Singing Circle Choir.” In addition, we host several trained music therapists and performers as part of our programming for our residents.
How to Treat Memory Loss?
Despite decades of dedicated medical research, there is no current medication to cure Alzheimer’s or dementia or stop these diseases from progressing. While some available medications help lessen memory loss and confusion for a limited time, we believe sensory stimulation is an important approach to integrate into the care of individuals suffering memory loss.
While there is no known cure for memory loss, here are seven tips for helping improve your memory:
- Make sure to include physical activities in your routine every day
- Stay mentally active
- Socialize on a regular basis
- Stay organized
- Sleep well
- Maintain a healthy diet and avoid alcohol
- Manage any chronic conditions and medications
If you are looking for help with a loved one who is living with memory loss, contact us at The Moments memory care today or take a virtual tour.