Maybelle Carter Blog

Nashville Senior care volunteer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the pressure to remember things can be one of the greatest sources of stress. What can senior loved ones do to reduce this stress? Storytelling! Storytelling and Narrative therapy can be a process for replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.

How does it work?

Participants start with a silly photo and are guided through a process of creating a story about what is shown in the picture they’re given. This form of cognitive and behavioral therapy is thought to delay the progression of dementia. The process encourages communication with fellow residents, caregivers and family members.

“Laughter is contagious. Laughter is healing. And laughter can brighten the lives of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Joyce Vanderpool, one of the founders of The Creative Story Project. An Intergenerational Story Power program that pairs students in schools or youth organizations with residents of the senior community.

"We are able to take them into a care facility where they work with primarily dementia residents,” Vanderpool said. “It is a great experience for both the students and the residents. Sessions always include lots of laughter, hugs and invitations to return. And the students do return to visit their new friends and bring them love and hugs - and an enthusiasm for life that youth can provide.”

Written by: Meghan O’Dea

Maybelle Carter Music and SeniorsIt might be surprising to those familiar with dementia and Alzheimers that music can have such a profound effect on those living with these conditions. After all, some of the hallmarks of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimers, are less likely to tolerate distractions like background noise, crowded spaces, or other overstimulating environments. However, our brains process music differently than other types of sound, and music awakens connections to other parts of the brain in a way that, say, the chatter of a crowded restaurant or a garbage truck coming down the street would not.

Stanford researcher Daniel Abrams found that participants in a study who listened to the same symphony all had nearly identical responses. MRI scans showed that regions of the brain, dedicated to movement, planning, attention, and memorythe exact same parts of the brain that are most affected by dementia, were stimulated. Scientists have numerous theories about why we evolved to be hardwired for music in this way. Some think it is a result of language acquisition skills earlier in life. Others believe it is because of our innate ability to process history, thus retaining large amounts of crucial information. Another theory is derived from the way we socialize and communicate with one another. Whatever the reason might be, it is evident that music has had a profound effect on people for as long as weve been, well, human.

That opens a broad realm of possibilities for how music can be used to help seniors with dementia in effort to slow the rate of memory loss or ease the isolating symptoms of more advanced cases. From mnemonic devices that can be sung to help remember routines or daily processes to soothing melodies that can help calm a senior agitated by their inability to remember an almost-familiar face, there are all sorts of ways that music can be used therapeutically.

Music that inspires a great deal of emotion in the listener, positive or negative, has a proportional effect on the brain. The more a song affects the listener emotionally, the more his or her brain lights up in response. That means that hearing a favorite song can stimulate an otherwise withdrawn senior, help jumpstart a conversation, or match the mood enjoy on a good day. Similarly, mellow songs can be used to set the tone for bedtime or periods of rest.

You can enjoy music with your loved one by collecting some of their favorite songs, whether its Scott Joplin, Beethoven, Red Buttons, Frank Sinatra, or another artist. Perhaps your senior loved ones have some old records or CDs still that could provide clues as to what might create a positive response. Or you can try to chat with them about songs they enjoyed when they were younger. You might even ask family members or old friends about your loved ones favorite tunes. When you play music, be sure you have good quality headphones or speaker setup, and if necessary, that it is compatible with hearing aids. You want to make sure the volume is comfortable, but loud enough to hear.

Listening to music together can be a great pastime that inspires conversation and helps you get to know your loved one on a whole new level. It can be such a joy to watch their faces light up and their bodies start to move to the beat. Be prepared to listen to stories that the song recalls or to thoughts and opinions about the artist. You never know what associations might be conjured up as neurons fire and the brain responds to each beat.

As with any other activity you undertake with loved ones with Alzheimers, be prepared to take a break if they become frustrated or overwhelmed. Going for a short walk or having a snack can be great way to hit the pause button. Also, make sure there is not any background noise or any other distraction that could make it hard for your loved one to focus on the activity at hand. If you need support in any aspect of senior caregiving with Alzheimers, contact the Alzheimers Foundation of Americas national toll-free helpline at 866.232.8484. From 9AM to 9PM, they have licensed social workers who can answer your questions. They are also available on Skype, live chat, and via email.

Written by: Meghan O'Dea

Nashville assisted living

Did you know that there are many different levels of Senior Care? In the event that you are thinking about senior care but do not know which option will be the best fit, there are multiple senior care choices accessible to you that differ greatly according to the level of self-reliance and senior satisfaction. At Maybelle Carter seniors are offered full continuum care, alongside similar aged peers. Listed below are the list of pros and cons for each.

Independent Living: this retirement way of life is perfect for individuals who are still dynamic and free, but also like to have someone cook and clean for them.

Pros:

  • Convenience
  • Social interaction
  • Cooking and cleaning provided
  • Easy transition into Assisted Living, when the time comes

Cons:

  • Downsizing
  • Moving
  • Minimal medical care


In-Home Care: this senior care, also known as “aging in place” is dependent upon the state of the senior, which includes standard checkups to ensure the health of the senior.

Pros:

  • Less traumatic
  • Familiarity
  • Comforts of home
  • Lower associated costs for family caregivers

Cons:

  • Less access to emergency medical care, if needed
  • Overwhelming for family caregivers
  • The home may no longer be a safe environment
  • Higher associated costs for in-home trained professionals


Assisted Living:
this senior living alternative is perfect for seniors who find they require more hands-on assistance with daily tasks like showering, dressing and, administering pharmaceuticals.

Pros:

  • On-site medical care
  • 24/7 emergency response team
  • Security
  • Medications, activities of daily living, meals and housekeeping are routinely provided
  • Full continuum care
  • Endless community services, amenities, and scheduled social events

Cons:

  • Transition into assisted living can be a difficult adjustment for some
  • While it’s not the most expensive, it can be costly

 

Memory Care: this specified senior care program offers care to residents experiencing the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's.

Pros:

  • Personalized programs with multi-sensory experiences
  • Care and support that specifically caters to their memory needs and promotes a high quality of life
  • More home-like, as compared to a nursing home
  • Not as expensive as nursing home care
  • Quality continuum care

Cons:

  • Confusion due to unfamiliar environment and people
  • High associated facility costs
  • Limited independence

 

For further counsel on selecting the appropriate senior care, consult with a specialist or primary care physician. Also, if you have questions regarding senior care arrangements, get in touch with us today to schedule a no obligation evaluation! We cheerfully welcome you, your friends, and family to join our Maybelle community today.

 

Written by: Katie Hanley

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