What comes to mind when you think about memory care? While many may harbor a less-than-favorable opinion about memory support communities, It’s time to let go of your pre-existing perceptions. Modern memory care communities are integrating a wide array of innovative programs and new technology for Alzheimer’s/dementia treatment, bringing support for seniors with memory impairment into the 21st century — and contributing to a comfortable environment with an uplifting lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of the industry’s latest and greatest.
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia experience feelings of disconnectedness and loss of independence. It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L) is a series of programs at the forefront of dementia treatment technology designed to foster engagement through software and hardware solutions.
In layman’s terms, iN2L provides a senior-friendly computer system full of activities, memory games and other things to explore. It also gives seniors a way to get online and connect with their loved ones. Through coordination with in-person professionals, this system can be customized with memory care activities that fit the needs of each individual, easing communication between residents and caregivers.
For seniors with dementia, iN2L’s simple and intuitive interface allows for a renewed feeling of control. Modern computers or televisions can often be too complicated, not offering enough cues or visual feedback to guide a memory-impaired senior through their menus and subsystems — in contrast, iN2L’s ease of use and picture-based interface make it ideal for seniors of all abilities.
Therapy Dolls and Personal Robots
We know what you’re probably thinking — dolls aren’t exactly what comes to mind when you think of high-tech care solutions. However, new technology in Alzheimer’s care also includes innovations in doll interactivity. Before, seniors would be expected to effectively pantomime a relationship with an inanimate baby doll. Now, computer-programmable, fully voiced dolls allow for a more realistic link.
At the cutting edge of this interactive companion category are specialized, robotic therapy animals, like the simulated baby seal called PARO. How do they work? These therapeutic robots have a variety of natural, believable behaviors, and are specifically designed around the unique abilities of memory-impaired seniors.
Unlike realistic baby dolls, robotic animals can foster an emotional connection while avoiding something called the ‘uncanny valley’ — that’s what happens when an inanimate or nonhuman object comes too close to resembling a real person, which some may find unsettling. Fortunately, the delightful stuffed animal looks of therapy bots like PARO still allow for a convincing, lifelike link.
Music Holds the Key
MUSIC & MEMORY®, a national initiative advocating the power of music therapy for seniors, brings more innovation to the field of memory support. Research has proven a link between our favorite music and parts of the brain that trigger our memories. By providing each senior a personalized music playback device (like an iPod) filled with music that holds personal meaning to them, MUSIC & MEMORY® revives previously lost memories.
Skeptical? The results are clear. Seniors who participate in this program show a marked improvement in their awareness, alertness, and overall engagement with the world around them. It turns out that our connection to music is more than mental — it runs deep into our physiology, and the research being done reveals new connections each and every day.
A Community on the Cutting Edge
If you’re looking for a place that brings together all this innovative technology for dementia care, look no further than Edgemere. We’re a community that believes each resident deserves the best in all things. For the seniors living in Edgemere’s memory support neighborhood, that means the newest advancements in Alzheimer’s/dementia support and treatment.
Of course, our first-rate, technologically advanced memory care initiatives are always supported by our strong tradition of quality service, premium amenities and best-in-class lifestyle.