Pet Therapy

Like much of life, a little creativity goes a long way when it comes to providing care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. At Enhanced Home Care, we understand how challenging it may be to meet the ever-changing needs inherent with dementia; on one day, a senior loved one may feel relaxed and content, and the next day he or she may be overwhelmed by increased anxiety and agitation.

It’s important to remain flexible, and have multiple tools and resources at the ready to draw from based upon the individual’s specific needs at the moment. Our elder care Overland Park, KS experts have put together three unique suggestions that can be very helpful in lifting a senior’s mood and allowing for expression of emotions: the MAP approach.

The acronym MAP is short for three different types of therapy:

Music

The mind’s ability to retain memories pertaining to music, even in Alzheimer’s disease, is astonishing. Music can be included in a variety of ways for relaxing, engagement, and memory stimulation. A few tips on how to utilize music in Alzheimer’s include:

  • Determine what songs from the senior’s younger years stimulate memories, and make a playlist on a smartphone or other device for the individual to enjoy. Or, use a karaoke machine for sing-alongs. As the disease advances, musical preference will probably reflect the person’s childhood memories.
  • Choose upbeat, lively songs and encourage the senior to dance, based on his or her physical ability. Tapping the feet and clapping along may be satisfying for folks who are less mobile.
  • Play peaceful, soothing music later in the day to help decrease the effects of sundowning, to reduce anxiety, and also to encourage sleep.

Art

Art, in its numerous forms, is a wonderful means of self-expression for everyone, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, it enables tactile engagement and strengthening of fine motor skills. Try various mediums to find out what your loved one most enjoys: painting, drawing, coloring, working with clay, etc.

Allowing the individual to make whatever she or he wants is generally effective; however, 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 provide a sense of company and nurturing different from any other, and a lot of seniors are drawn to those that remind them of past pets. Simply petting or holding an animal has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels, stress, and anxiety, among many other benefits. In the advanced stages associated with the disease, a stuffed animal may also frequently provide feelings of comfort.

For even more creative approaches to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, connect with the elder care Overland Park, KS team at Enhanced Home Care. Our caregivers are expertly trained and experienced in compassionate, professional care for dementia, and offer effective management techniques for some of the more difficult aspects of the disease, such as wandering, agitation, sundowning, and more. Contact us at 913-327-0000 for a no cost in-home consultation to learn more!

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