While research is still working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and memory loss, experts have discovered remarkable benefits of holistic methods for treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. From music therapy to sensory stimulation and more, memory care teams are turning to holistic treatments to engage and encourage well-being for those in their care.
Nancy Clanton, Community Relations Director at Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, a senior living community in Venice, Florida, confirms that holistic treatments are an integral part of their community’s own memory care program: “We have experienced remarkable results from a variety of holistic treatments, which work to treat the whole person. Holistic therapies such as music and art have been implemented into our regular programming for memory care residents, offering not just relief from cognitive symptoms, but avenues to self-expression and joy.”
Benefits of Holistic Treatments
Leading memory care communities such as Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay are turning to holistic methods of memory loss treatments for several reasons, including evidence-based proof in their success as well as their ability to enhance daily life. Consider the following:
- Fewer Medications – Holistic therapies can sometimes eliminate the need for certain medications, such as anti-depressants. Fewer medications means fewer unwanted side effects and negative drug interactions.
- Impacts the Whole Person – By definition, holism recognizes that the whole is more than just the sum of its parts. Holistic treatments don’t just focus on physical benefits, but emotional, social and intellectual ones as well.
- Highly Personal – No two people with Alzheimer’s is the same. Holistic therapies are easily customizable to each individual based on their personal interests, abilities and desires.
Different Types of Holistic Treatments
In a broad sense, almost anything that has a therapeutic or healing effect on someone, and exists outside the world of traditional medicine, could be considered a holistic treatment. For example, touch therapy is popular for many caring for those in the later stages of memory loss, when many other senses fail. Through gentle touch, such as a massage, back rub or giving soft objects to the person to hold, touch therapy provides stress relief, comfort and connection to others.
Some of the more popular holistic treatments used with those with memory loss include:
Music Therapy – Listening to or making music has a powerful effect on those with Alzheimer’s disease. Music stimulates many parts of the brain at once, making it a useful tool for cognitive “exercise.” Music can help with memory care residents by enhancing mood, strengthening cognitive abilities, encouraging movement and promoting socialization. Certain songs may also help stimulate happy memories for the listener.
Art Therapy – Creating art, no matter what the medium, can be therapeutic for those with memory loss. Not only does it allow them a mode of self-expression (especially when speech becomes difficult), but it also promotes feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. The opportunity to exercise one’s creativity enables them to tap into different parts of their mind and personality that may have become buried underneath their disease.
Pet Therapy – Interacting with animals is remarkably beneficial for those with memory loss. Often, the symptoms of memory loss can cause embarrassment and, subsequently, a withdrawal from social situations. An animal provides an experience where a person is free to interact without fear of judgment or acknowledgement of their disease.
Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy is based on the theory that essential oils derived from plants have beneficial properties. It can be effective in helping people with Alzheimer’s to relax. Some evidence claims that certain oils may even help improve cognition among dementia patients.
Reminiscence Therapy – Intentional reminiscence can be a great engagement tool for those with Alzheimer’s, while also promoting recall of memories. By looking through old photo albums, listening to favorite records or watching old films together, seniors and their loved ones can spend meaningful time together while helping the person with dementia reclaim a sense of normalcy.
Sensory Stimulation Therapy – As mentioned previously, stimulating the senses can be therapeutic for those in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Using touch, smell and sound (more frequently than taste or sight, which often diminish with the disease), caregivers can promote comfort and memory recall for the person. Items such as an old blanket or perfume they no longer use can bring back happy memories and reconnect them to their past.
Your Partner in Memory Care
If you are caring for a loved one with memory loss, the team at Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay is a great resource of memory care guidance and support. “We utilize the latest and best care techniques for our memory care residents,” says Clanton. “Our caregivers are constantly learning new ways to improve the daily lives of the seniors in our care.”
If you would like to know more about holistic treatments for memory loss or any other topics for senior care, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are committed to helping family caregivers deliver the best care possible for their loved ones.
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
Luxury, intimacy, opportunity, passion and beauty combine to create what the Italians call sprezzatura – a culture of effortless elegance. The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics, but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.