Memory care is an individualized health care specialty, requiring patience, awareness, and a focus on little touches and small moments. Memory loss – which is a disease of the brain – affects each person differently, oftentimes making one day so different from the next. We remember this with all we do at The Saybrook at Haddam’s Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood and we always look for special touches to benefit residents and families who turn to us for help and support through this difficult illness.
One particular frustration with memory care is the loss of clear (or even verbal) communications. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, memory loss patients may have dramatic changes in the way he or she hears, processes, and responds to conversation. By creating a calm, steady, friendly and reassuring atmosphere, the Safe Harbor community helps resident express themselves through challenging moments, regardless of the hour or day. For families struggling to help non-verbal loved ones “talk,” we thought a recent article on caring.com titled “6 Nonverbal Dementia Communication Techniques Make Caregiving Easier” explained this condition well and offered solid advice.
The memory care team at The Saybrook at Haddam employs many of these same techniques each day as part of our ever-growing skill set. The most important thing we do, however, is to take time to learn the personalities and interests of each resident so we can create a therapeutic and engaging atmosphere that has meaning and appeal, and can respond appropriately when someone may have a bad moment or day.
Another frustration for memory care residents is not being able to do the things they used to do. We learn which hobbies they once loved –such as cooking, painting, traveling, listening to music, or doing puzzles. Then we adapt these types of activities so residents can once again (safely) make candy, paint ceramics, take short road trips (to places such as local farms, parks, libraries, shops, restaurants, and museums), or tackle other projects that require them to use fine motor skills, concentration, and creativity. When residents participate in these social and hands-on activities, they have the chance to connect again with things they once enjoyed.
Residents also appreciate interacting with young children, which is why we initiated a wonderful relationship with a local preschool. We visit with this energetic and loving group throughout the school year to work together on projects, sing songs, read books and just have fun. On a recent visit, one resident asked a little girl if he could try on her red beret. The girl happily obliged and giggled her way through story time watching her friend wear her little hat. It was a wonderful moment.
And moments are what memory care is all about. We know our small touches have meaning for residents at Safe Harbor and help preserve (or even improve) their quality of life. It is a rewarding health care specialty and we are honored to be a part of it.
For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.