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Memory Care Therapy and Treatment Options

Aug 4, 2016

Memory Care Therapy and Treatment Options

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Dementia is the name given to a wide range of symptoms that are related to memory loss: for example, Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Understanding dementia and learning to cope with it is no easy task for the individual or for their family and loved ones. Despite this, it’s important to understand that there is no cure for many of the symptoms of dementia, but there are many treatment options that can help lessen the disorder’s symptoms.

Deciding on a way to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia depends on many things including, the stage of the disorder, the individual’s personal preferences, recommendations from physicians and more. An extremely popular way to limit the symptoms of dementia lies in different variations of therapy.

Therapy Options for Memory Care

Therapy is a great treatment option for many reasons, but one reason many people prefer therapy is due to the fact that medications can be expensive and they can have some frustrating side effects. As mentioned previously, the type of therapy an individual might opt to try depends on their specific symptoms and the stage of dementia. Here are a few of the most common therapy options used to treat dementia:

Music Therapy

Music is capable of bringing back the most elaborate memories for many people, and it’s proven to continue having that effect despite the changes in the brain during dementia. Music therapy is typically subcategorized into passive and active therapy. Passive therapy is letting the individual pick music to listen to from their younger years (18-25). Typically, this helps relieve the stress and agitation that often coincides with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The benefits of music’s effect on the brain are still being studied thoroughly, but this form of treatment appears to help individuals with dementia.

Art Therapy

Art therapy encourages individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, to express their feelings. They do this through activities like painting and drawing, which is especially helpful for the early and middle stages of dementia. Art therapy has proven to be a stress reliever in not only people with dementia but also anyone who is facing a difficult time in life. This form of treatment has been known to help relieve many of the symptoms of dementia, including frustration, agitation and more.

Counseling

Dementia counseling can be scheduled with professionals or with other families and loved ones of an individual with dementia. These counseling sessions are typically in a laid back environment, where all those present can feel free to share stories of joyous and difficult experiences related to dementia. Counseling proves to be extremely helpful in that it helps families learn that they are not alone in this process, and it allows people to learn from each other.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help those suffering from dementia keep the ability to do everyday tasks, such as feeding themselves. Furthermore, occupational therapists will work with the families and loved ones of those with dementia to manage symptoms and prevent danger, such as falling.

Aromatherapy

Similarly to music therapy, aromatherapy can help people remember by relying on their sense of smell. A smell from an individual’s childhood is deemed especially helpful in memory. Within the other symptoms of dementia, aromatherapy can help soothe negative feelings such as stress, frustration, and agitation.

Modifying Everyday Life

While this isn’t technically a therapy, a lot of families that live with individuals with dementia will modify the individual’s tasks and surroundings to better suit their needs. Modifying tasks can be as simple as breaking each task down into steps. For example, you would never want to say, “Make yourself a bowl of cereal." Instead, suggest that the individual picks out a box of cereal, then ask them to please get the milk out of the refrigerator, and so on. Modifying surroundings can help an individual with severe memory loss concentrate and limit agitation-rooted outbursts.

While Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia cannot be cured at this time, it is possible to keep symptoms at bay if they are treated correctly. Many of the therapies listed above will help the individual suffering from dementia cope with the disorder, and assist their families and loved ones in learning about to manage the disorder within their loved ones.

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Frequently Asked Questions

My husband has recently become more forgetful and I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I'm scared that it might be Alzheimer's. What are some of the symptoms to look for?

Don’t worry; mild forgetfulness is actually a normal part of growing older for many people. His forgetfulness may even be caused by treatable side effects from medication, or perhaps a vitamin B12 deficiency.

However, there are several other more serious conditions that may induce memory loss. The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s include: confusion during routine tasks or familiar settings, difficulty with spatial judgments, and sharp changes in mood or personality. In any case, scheduling an appointment with your doctor to evaluate his condition is a great way to put your mind at ease.

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I want to make sure that our mother has more than just care for her Alzheimer’s at her new community. What are some activities that people in memory care can enjoy?

Although memory care can be a very intensive experience, there’s no reason that leisure shouldn’t be included! Activities will vary based on each community, however, many communities focus on things to keep seniors intellectually and socially engaged. Depending on an individual’s mobility, they may be able to take part in community outings and group exercise classes. Other activities like gardening, painting, and cooking classes allow seniors to learn new skills while also remaining social.

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