Dementia is a devastating disorder – and not just for the sufferer. The symptoms – which can include dramatic changes in personality and an inability to reason can also take their toll on family and close friends. While there is currently no cure for dementia, each day brings with it new research that is trying to defeat the disease. Over the past few years, countless studies have argued that there are indeed methods which can help alleviate the symptoms. Here are several activates and exercises that are believed to help those suffering from dementia.
Music is widely regarded as having the ability to counter the effects of dementia. In fact, it is not uncommon for care homes to rely on music to trigger memories. Studies have found that, as well as evoking emotions, music can help with shifting a sufferer’s mood and helping them to relax. Anyone interested in using this technique is best-served choosing songs that are soft, tranquil and associated with positive memories. A recent study by the University of Plymouth found that music can also help sufferers use language that they haven’t used in a while.
Sensory gardens have become a popular subject in the world of dementia care. The gardens can come in all different shapes and sizes, with the point being that sufferers should find their sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing heightened upon each visit. In some cases, sensory gardens can be bespoke for the individual that they aim to help. However, as a rule, all gardens should be colourful and diverse. Research bodies such as the Journal of Clinical Nursing have held studies on the benefits of such gardens over the past few years.
Dutch psychologist Dr. Bère Miesen was behind the first memory café, which opened in Holland in 1997. Since then so many people have found the activity beneficial that more and more memory cafés are springing up around the world. The project basically creates a safe space where dementia sufferers and their loved ones can visit on a regular basis. For the sufferer, it’s an environment where they can socialise and mix with others, as well as get some exercise on a day out. Meanwhile, relatives can also benefit because of the support network available. There is also a memory café directory to assist people in finding one in their local area.
Games have been found to encourage self-expression and stir up positive memories for dementia sufferers. As well, the pastime can help establish a positive connection between the sufferer and the person they are playing with. The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia has found that bingo, in particular, can help counter the symptoms of dementia. According to the study, sufferers can remain alert even several hours after the game has come to a close.
Bear with it
It’s important to remember that each dementia sufferer is unique and will, therefore, react differently to each method. However, a significant amount of research has gone into proving that activities and exercises like the aforementioned should help in some way.
If you would like to know more about activities that can help dementia sufferers or further your understanding of this condition, contact us on 020 8905 7701.