Alexandria VA The summer solstice marks the Alzheimer’s Association’s Fight against Alzheimer’s “The Longest Day” event, where the public is encouraged to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research with this saying in mind: “The day with the most light is the day we fight.” Local memory care communities are not only raising money for the cause, but also implementing out-of-the-box solutions to improve the quality of life for those suffering from the disease.
Experts at these communities have found that having their residents play with dogs and engage with music is helping those dealing with dementia open up, improve cognitive skills, and relax. Solutions like these are so crucial because the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is expected to more than double by 2050.
Dogs & Dementia
Residents find joy, purpose, and improved mental health by connecting a rescue dog. Whether it’s having a dog sit on a resident’s lap or encouraging them to take him on a walk, engaging with a pup helps keep their minds sharp and their moods boosted. Interacting with four-legged friends is a great way to increase the seniors’ levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, combatting the extra stress levels brought on by dementia.
Music may have been created for entertainment, but with this unique approach, it becomes a therapeutic tool. Music therapy is a nurturing, loving and thoroughly person-centered approach to activating the brain in ways that bring back a piece of who they are at their core. Different types of music are used for different people, depending on their therapy goals and the person’s physical and mental condition.
- With one person, they may use music to stimulate their creativity.
- With another, it may be to tap into their memories.
- And with yet another, it may be to get their body moving — which supports their ability and willingness to engage in activities of daily living, like teeth-brushing and bathing.