People want to “grow old gracefully.” A big part of this is maintaining their independence.
About 1 in 9 Americans ages 65+ have Alzheimer’s, and over 55 million are living with dementia.1 With these numbers projected to triple by 2050, memory loss has become an increasingly important conversation amongst seniors, their families, and loved ones.
At the Birches, we have a unique and effective approach to memory care.
Namely, we use proven “Montessori” principles, bringing residents’ personal history, interests, and skills into their day-to-day support. Such principles include providing prompts, signs, and activities to answer individuals’ needs and promote consistency and routine. This ensures they feel valued and instills higher confidence in seniors as they know what to expect.
Residents of the Birches memory care facilities are offered a variety of opportunities to engage in projects where they feel productive. Our Montessori practices are “people-centered,” so we use what we know about our residents’ past lives, skills, and hobbies and create ways to utilize them.
This helps residents draw out long-term memories while achieving new goals, thus supporting easier recall. We also consider tasks they performed during their careers and introduce familiarity and enjoyment.
Sample projects include working in the garden, creating flower boxes, assisting with menu planning and meal preparation, sewing, working with math problems, participating in handywork, and more.
We realize projects must be meaningful to the residents, so our staff at the Birches continually assess results through observations, resident surveys, and other measures. We readily change steps or entire projects to ensure we get the highest engagement.
Connectivity is integral, as it decreases anxiety, loneliness, and isolation, which inhibit memory, mood, and satisfaction.
So, we encourage residents to share their experiences in these projects with peers or loved ones. This builds their social network in the community while fortifying their recall of how they accomplished things.
Creative forums and outlets
Memory care music therapy and art therapy are also a standard part of our Montessori-based care. People have a profound and inseparable relationship with music. There are many moments where a specific song can inspire a more positive mood, provide a tranquil effect, or promote the recollection of a favorite memory.
We share music to listen to as background to the daily routine to lift residents’ spirits and keep emotions in balance — an essential aspect of caring for people with dementia. We also give residents regular sessions to hold musical instruments they may never have before or play ones they know. Simply strumming a guitar or holding a brass trumpet can bring about a new zest for life.
Art therapy is also beneficial for those coping with memory loss.
Engaging with art can help older people connect with parts of themselves they feel lost. This stimulates their creativity and gives them new ways to express themselves — a significant benefit as they progress through later levels of dementia.
Sessions are adaptable to persons of every skill level and help participants practice and maintain their fine motor skills. Residents at the Birches enjoy drawing, painting, crafts, knitting and quilt work, photography, and more.
Other activities and amenities that help restore independence
The Birches’ approach to memory care facility is all-encompassing, combining the best in cognitive and physical supports. We consider all community and apartment design aspects to provide a safe and welcoming environment that promotes residents’ independence.
This includes how living quarters are designed, such as the height and functioning of shelves and cabinetry, bathtub/shower/toilet utility, and closet organization. The more residents can do on their own, the better they feel.
We also spend a great deal of time and planning to ensure our memory care community is easy to remember and navigate with helpful signage and support (including staff offices) in every area. This aims at resident retention and peace of mind, which boosts their confidence to manage many parts of their daily living independently.
For all of these features — and the dedication of our staff — the Birches has been honored with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) “Excellence in Care (EIC) Dementia Care Program of Distinction” for the fifth consecutive year.
Learn more about the many benefits of memory care can help restore your loved ones independence and live their best life. Connect with us today.