Alzheimer's Behaviors

As with many aspects in life, a little creativity goes a long way when it comes to providing care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. At Grace Home Care, we completely understand how challenging it may be to fulfill the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia; on one day, your loved one might feel peaceful and satisfied, while on the next morning, endure elevated anxiety and agitation.

The answer is to stay flexible, and have various tools and resources available to draw on according to the individual’s specific needs at the present time. Our Topeka Alzheimer’s care experts have put together three unique recommendations that can be very reliable in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.

The acronym MAP is short for three kinds of therapy:

Music

The mind’s ability to retain memories connected to music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is impressive. Music can be integrated in a variety of ways for relaxing, engagement, and memory stimulation. Just a few ways to utilize music in Alzheimer’s include:

  • Determine what songs from the senior’s younger years stimulate memories, and create a playlist on an iPod for the individual to enjoy. Or, use a karaoke machine for sing-alongs. As the disease advances, musical preference will probably reflect the senior’s childhood memories.
  • Select upbeat, lively songs and encourage your loved one to dance, based on his / her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along could be enjoyable for those who are less mobile.
  • Play quiet, calming music later during the day to help minimize the effects of sundowning, to lessen anxiety, and to encourage sleep.

Art

Art, in its numerous forms, is a superb method of self-expression for all of us, including individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  It enables tactile engagement and strengthening of fine motor skills. Try various mediums to find what your loved one most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.

Allowing the individual to make whatever he or she wants is often effective, but if some guidance is preferred, try discussing a story from the senior’s past first, and then asking her or him to express the story through art.

Pets

Animals offer a sense of companionship and nurturing different from any other, and a lot of older adults are drawn to those that remind them of past pets. Merely petting or holding an animal has been shown to minimize blood pressure, stress, and anxiety, among a number of other benefits. In the advanced stages of the disease, a stuffed animal may also often provide feelings of comfort.

To learn more creative approaches to Alzheimer’s care, get in touch with the Topeka Alzheimer’s care team at Grace Home Care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and offer effective management methods for some of the more difficult aspects of the disease, including wandering, agitation, sundowning, and more. Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 for a free of charge in-home consultation and to learn more about our top-rated Topeka Alzheimer’s care!