February 20, 2022
How Engagement Technology in Memory Care Can Help Your Loved One with Dementia
When it comes to supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, often the focus is on keeping them safe, comfortable, and calm. All of which are important, for sure, but another often overlooked priority is engagement. In fact, it’s been shown to have a number of benefits, including increased positive emotions, improving activities of daily living, and improving quality of life, according to the report Engagement in Persons with Dementia: The Concept and Its Measurement. Here’s how we use engagement technology to do just that for our memory care residents.
Benefits of Engagement
Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia can be incredibly isolating. Whether your loved one intentionally removes themselves from social situations due to worry about making a mistake and/or embarrassment over potential confusion, or they’ve reached the point where communication is difficult, they likely still crave that connection with others. Humans are social beings; after all, it’s in our nature. As such, opportunities to continue to engage can:
- Increase socialization and connectedness
- Improve cognitive function
- Strengthen connection to the present
- Provide purpose
- Reduce frustration
- Improve self-esteem and promote independence
- Increase joy
Engagement Technology in Memory Care
It may be easier to create these opportunities for your loved one in a memory care setting versus home for several reasons. One is that memory care in and of itself is designed just for those with dementia with staff specially trained in the unique challenges your loved one is facing. Two is the capability to feature a range of tailored programs and activities to help your loved one engage regardless of the degree of cognitive impairment. Three is the engagement technology communities like ours have available.
We use cutting-edge engagement technology provided by the iN2L (It’s Never Too Late) system. iN2L helps create tailored experiences that foster camaraderie, meaning, and a sense of purpose, positively impacting every member of our memory care community. Through an easy-to-use touchscreen either on individual tablets or a large screen for groups, iN2L can:
- Keep residents connected to family and friends with video visits
- Redirect in times of upset or stress by using the resident’s profile to access preferred content, including music, photos, and other favorites
- Allow for more powerful reminiscing by connecting residents to video messages, digital photos, scanned letters, and more, in addition to logging important moments such as holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries to create meaningful conversation starters
- Provide activities appropriate for different cognitive abilities with a diverse library of content available
iN2L is just a part of our PEAK Memory Care program designed to engage your loved ones where they are today while enhancing their overall wellness – mind, body, and spirit. PEAK Memory Care at GenCare includes:
- Staff specially trained in memory care
- 24-hour certified caregivers
- Daily assistance in personal care, medication, and dining
- A healthy, fresh, and made-from-scratch culinary experience with gluten-free, vegetarian, and diabetic-friendly menu options
- Music, exercise, and brain fitness programs
- Family resources, volunteer opportunities, and education
We have also partnered with Joy for All by providing interactive companion pets designed to bring comfort, companionship, and fun to our residents suffering from the challenges of #alzheimers. The impact of these pets on their mental health and well-being have created a more positive living experience for them.
Caregivers use doll therapy for dementia patients as a way to put responsibility, caring, and structure back into the lives of those who have Alzheimer’s. A doll, dog, or cat can be seen as a welcoming gift that reminds them of their youth. They can also help a person who is not verbalizing to initiate speech again. It is part of the basic thought process to speak, hum, or sing to a baby in your arms or a pet on your lap.
A baby doll and animated pet can…
- Calm someone upset
- Provide endless hours of hugs and smiles
- Lull a person to sleep
- Create a distraction from a dangerous, harmful, or upsetting event
- Serve as an attention-getter
- Provide a tool for social interaction
- Regenerate warm, nurturing feelings of once again caring for a child or pet
- Make it possible for someone, totally dependent upon others, to care for someone or something else
PEAK Memory Care is available in these communities: GenCare Lifestyle Tacoma at Point Ruston, GenCare Lifestyle Lynnwood at Scriber Gardens, and GenCare Lifestyle Federal Way. Learn more about the GenCare Lifestyle by contacting the community nearest you today!