Smell and Memory Care 101
For the elderly, the healing power of human touch cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately, many seniors do not experience the simple, healing act of touch on a daily basis. Our care team at The Moments makes sure that our residents regularly experience the warmth and soothing nature of a caring, helpful hand.
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The Moments features a uniquely therapeutic approach to lighting. We offer large, unobstructed second-story windows throughout the entire community to let in the maximum amount of natural light as possible, paired with a high-tech circadian lighting system in both of our Resident wings. Our lighting system provides high melanopic lux, increasing serotonin production during the day to help regulate our residents’ (and staff!) circadian rhythm and provide an energy and positivity boost.
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Our unique culinary program is a custom, nutritionally-rich approach to dining. We recognize that phenomenal cooking contributes to feelings of joy and happiness and has the ability to trigger positive memories and visceral associations. Great food is often associated with feeling loved and provides an intrinsic sense of feeling at home.
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Music Therapy is one of the most effective forms of natural and positive engagement for individuals living with forms of dementia. From daily opportunities to participate in ‘The Moments Singing Circle Choir’ to ensemble instrumentation, orchestral, drumming, and live musical performances, residents have daily opportunities to express themselves and get in touch with their musical memories in a fun and social atmosphere.
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The Power of Scent on Memory
Some of our most powerful memories, our strongest affiliations with life and love and happiness, are activated by smell. A scent that you connect with an occasion or a moment from the past can instantly transport one to that time. Smells (unlike sounds, sights, or touch) get routed through your olfactory bulb, the smell-analyzing region in your brain that’s closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion. This memory recall is known as “odor-evoked autobiographical memory,” or the Proust phenomenon, after French writer Marcel Proust. In his famous novel In Search of Lost Time, the narrator dips a madeleine cookie into a cup of tea and is transported back into time as long-forgotten memories of his childhood come flooding back.
Each morning, freshly prepared pastries and breads are baked in kitchenettes within resident suite areas at 7:00AM. We do this to create a warm home-like atmosphere while offering a scent-based sensory “good morning!” wake-up call.
Clean, Odor-Free Air Quality
It’s known that individuals with dementia experience a higher sensitivity to smells, so the scent and quality of the air circulating through The Moments is one of our top priorities. Our Sensory Design team at The Moments conducted extensive research on the subject, looking in to hospitals and other industries for ideas about how to support a higher standard of pure air quality while reducing any unwanted smells often associated with long-term senior living environments. Our very sophisticated air-exchange system is constantly drawing fresh air into The Moments to ensure that our air quality is always clean and odor-free.
Sometimes it’s not about what IS there, but about what ISN’T.
Therapeutic Essential Oil Intervention
We recognize and utilize the therapeutic benefits of essential oils as a part of aromatherapy. Scents such as peppermint, lavender and rosemary are well-researched and found to be greatly beneficial in reducing agitation, stimulating appetite and improving alertness. Therapeutic Essential Oil use may include using diffusers, natural lotions, fresh or dried herbs, herbal teas or bath oils in Resident Suites and common areas throughout The Moments.