Written by: Meghan O’Dea
It might be surprising to those familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s, 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 memory—the 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 we’ve 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 That means that hearing a favorite song can stimulate an otherwise withdrawn senior, help jumpstart a conversation, or match the mood enjoy on a good day.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 it’s 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 one’s 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 Alzheimer’s, 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 Alzheimer’s, contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s 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
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.
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.
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.
Memory Care: this specified senior care program offers care to residents experiencing the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's.
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
There are many great reasons for retirees to visit or relocate to the Madison area, but one key to the quality of life here is the rich abundance of things for seniors to see and do in Nashville, TN – many of the activities at a reduced price for seniors, or free.
Here in Madison, veteran residents often enjoy paying tribute to the fallen soldiers at the Nashville National Cemetery. It is a humbling experience to visit the monuments of the service men and women who so bravely fought, dating back to the Civil War Era. A quiet afternoon stroll through the greenway allows time for reflection and gratitude, while also enjoying a breath of fresh air and exercise. It’s a wonderful place to visit, especially on Memorial Day to see each grave decorated with small patriotic flags.
Looking for some good, ol’ fashioned bluegrass music? Look no further than Larry's Grand Ole Garage & Blue Grass Music Park. As many would describe this hole in the wall dive as Madison’s hidden gem, it offers family-friendly, foot-stomping music in true Southern style! Here, seniors and their families can enjoy good music, good food, and an overall good time.
We’re about 15 minutes from Downtown Nashville, which offers a wealth of things to see and do. The major attractions are:
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art – Nestled in the foliage of the Tennessee hills, browse through the 55-acre historical estate, an elegant Georgian-style mansion surrounded byspectacular gardens. Don’t miss the garden-scale, outdoor train made entirely from materials found in nature. Bridges and cedar mountains make this exhibit fun for the whole family! Admission to the inside is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for youth, and free for children 2 or under.
Grand Ole Opry – Seniors and their families can enjoy a piece of country music history at the Grand Ole Opry, which began as a broadcast radio station in 1925. Since then, the iconic home of American music has hosted country music legends, award-winning artists, and defined the Nashville music scene.
Ryman Auditorium – This performance hall has seen the likes of artists such as Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, and B.B. King. The Ryman is a tried and true testament of how one stage can connect us all through toe-tapping tunes. Visit the home where bluegrass music was born for a guided or self-guided tour today.
Belle Meade Plantation – A 34-acre Southern plantation with a name that literally translates to beautiful meadow is sure to not disappoint. The estate was founded by John Harding in 1807. Today, the grounds are a part of Tennessee’s historic architecture preservation and equestrian education. Visitors are welcome to tour the property, as well as shop, dine, and enjoy wine tastings. Tours begin every 30 minutes. Adults 65+ ask about their senior admission discount!
Nashville Showboat – All Aboard The Nashville Riverboat General Jackson to experience the city in an elegant “Old South” style. Carving through the banks of the Cumberland River, this luxury riverboat is reminiscent of the Victorian Era, offers stunning views, a delicious, freshly prepared meal, and entertainment.
Lane Motor Museum – Calling all automotive enthusiasts! Take a tour of Nashville’s beloved automotive collection. During your tour, you will spot restored and uniquely different automobiles, as well as motorcycles, aviation machines, and even some amphibious crafts. Lane Motor Museum isone of the few displays to specialize in sporty, European models.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge – Also known as the Shelby Street Bridge, this 3,150-foot-long iconic pedestrian bridge spans the Cumberland riverbanks, as one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world. There’s no charge to visit this popular walking spot. There are benches along the way for those who need to stop and rest while enjoying the view of the river and the people enjoying their day.
Senior discounts are available at select hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores near these attractions. At Maybelle Carter Senior Living, we arrange for our residents to participate in group outings to local attractions. Being part of a group of peers living together in Nashville Assisted Living makes for a great way to experience these sights and sounds.
To learn more about things for seniors to do in Nashville TN, visit http://www.visitmusiccity.com/visitors
Written by: Katie Hanley
There are many challenges that families face when discussing the idea of senior care with aging parents and loved ones. Due to lack of information, multiple opinions, and fear of the future, conversations about the making of senior care plans and assisted living can often lead to conflict, especially when friends and family don’t entirely agree on what constitutes the best alternative. In this month's blog, we will investigate three possible reasons for conflict as aging loved ones begin to require senior care as well as three possible solutions to resolve differences.
1. Resisting Harsh New Realities
Are your parents or loved ones resisting the idea of senior care? This is not uncommon in older adults reaching the season of life where daily activities become a challenge without some assistance. If you are struggling with discussing the idea of assisted living with mom or dad, it might result in hurt feelings or anxiety if not communicated appropriately. Conflicts can arise, resulting in family members talking AT one another instead of TO each other.
Solution: Be brief and clear-cut. To avoid hurt feelings, tell them that their health and happiness is of the most importance to you. Explain that you are not attempting to "be free" of them. It’s crucial to communicate your concerns effectively, because communication is key. Once you express your feelings and worries regarding their well-being, listen to their concerns with an open mind. Afterwards, appeal to logic by creating a checklist of pros and cons from among the best options. Helping an aging parent to accept senior care can be a challenge, even in the best of circumstances. The ideal approach is to be honest, yet compassionate and motivated, and remain patient in the journey to discovering senior care facilities and future plans. Senior care authority Debra Feldman encourages tolerance and understanding during this sensitive time. Empathy helps us to understand how frightening things can seem when losing our self-reliance.
2. Perception of Senior Needs
Is your loved one denying the need for senior care? In many situations, seeing is believing – but when it comes to aging seniors recognizing the time to accept help, this isn’t always the case. It is quite common for loved ones to perceive needs for assistance differently. For example, do your aging parents stumble at times or struggle to get around the house, but deny it when questioned?
Solution: Families often dispute about the needs of senior care. Those involved all have varying opinions on the way those needs should be met. To minimize family conflict, it is recommended to seek guidance from the senior’s health care professional. Keeping the best interest of their patient, a trusted doctor or nurse practitioner can help recognize the needs and objectively recommend options to aging seniors and their families. Following your visit with a physician, the next logical step may be to meet with one of our community consultants at Regency. Call and schedule a no obligation appointment today to learn more about senior living and senior care plans for your loved ones.
3. Dominance of Decisions
When families do not see eye-to-eye on important decisions, typically there is at least one loved one dominating the decision-making process. In some cases, this can be a sibling, other family member, or even a senior who refuses care.
Solution: If it seems easier to keep quiet in regards to senior control, think again. While it may keep the peace, it’s important to vocalize your concerns, especially if you feel the aging senior is not being well cared for. If faced with conflict and limited control over estate and inheritance, a family mediator might be able help. Such unpleasant conflicts will only grow more complicated if resentment boils over in the future. Losing a senior parent, when that time comes, is difficult enough without family arguing over things that ideally should have been settled years before.
Despite the preliminary challenges that accompany transitioning into assisted living, it is crucial to consider living alternatives for aging loved ones, their overall health and well-being. Again, our Regency community consultants are always here to answer any of your questions. We would love to have you come in and see our warm community. We look forward to introducing you to our Regency family. We welcome the opportunity to act as a true resource to you and yours.
Written by: Katie Hanley
Spring signals a time for growth renewal through warmer weather, trees and flowers blooming, and outdoor activities! Everyone enjoys the change in seasons for these reasons, and especially since spring provides a chance to get out of the winter slump and cold that many experience.
Executive Director at Maybelle Carter, Jennifer Todd, agrees that, “Spring is here and we know our gardeners are just itching to get out to the garden and start digging in the soil and let the April showers bring the beautiful May flowers!”
While not every senior has the same level of mobility in order to get outside and fully enjoy the great outdoors, simply sitting in the garden and soaking up some Vitamin D can be equally as important. Research has shown that Vitamin D produced from sunlight can improve cognitive function. However, it is also very important to protect yourself from prolonged sun exposure, as it can cause harm to the skin, dehydration, and exhaustion. If you do plan to take advantage of the warmer weather and sunshine, take precautions: wear sunscreen and a hat, drink plenty of water, and take time to rest and cool down.
Some exciting FREE activities planned in Nashville for spring are:
Additionally, there are plenty of activities that you can plan and take part in on your own, depending on your hobbies, interests, and mobility. Some of these can be enjoyed outdoors or indoors, in case the heat is too intense to be outside.
Here are just a few examples:
Don’t forget to take all the precautions necessary to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion, as you make the most of the warmer weather! Wear light clothing, avoid being outside at the peak heat hours, stay hydrated, and listen to your body. If you need to take a break and seek air-conditioning, do so. You can always get back out and enjoy the weather once you feel more energized.
These are just a few tips to enhance your enjoyment of springtime as the weather transitions to the humid summer in the Deep South.
To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.
Sometimes it can feel as if your grandchildren are from a different planet and making arrangements to see them in-person is the equivalent of arranging a short interstellar voyage. If you want to have a greater presence in their lives, you have to go where they are and speak their language.
Here are a few tips to make that happen...
Get Smart... phone – Today's youth live on their mobile phones, experiencing everything by snapping photos for sharing on social networks and silently text messaging their friends (who oddly enough, may be sitting right next to them). This is quite a change from previous generations who are accustomed to paying friends and neighbors a visit and sharing long conversations as social gestures. If kids bring their gadgets when they visit you at Maybelle Carter, it probably isn't meant disrespectfully; most of them simply have these devices glued to their hips, figuratively speaking.
You can prove yourself to be one savvy senior by texting occasional, brief messages to your grandkids. They're more likely to respond to a brief "Hello" or a short joke than attempts to have a prolonged conversation. These days, communicating with youngsters is about competing for attention in a world full of distractions. You don't want to overdo it, but an occasional message does the trick. Be aware that teens have their own shorthand when texting. "BRB" means "be right back", for example, while "LOL" means "Laugh Out Loud". A simple Google search can help you decode their language.
Get Social (A Lil Bit) – Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be a double-edged sword. You get a glimpse into the lives of loved ones, but you may also see more than you bargained for, especially when it comes to young people who may be on their best behavior around their elders but act silly in front of their friends. Some people fail to understand that Facebook is a megaphone and treat it more like a diary, oversharing aspects of their lives. Respect their need for privacy and you may be rewarded with more frequent online interactions and a glimpse into what's happening in their world. Facebook Messenger, which works like text messaging, can be a gateway for short written conversations between face-to-face visits.
Get Skyped – Skype is the name of a video conferencing software program available on most desktop and mobile computing devices. For free over the Internet, you can broadcast from a camera and see video of your loved one displayed. This is great for situations where frequent interactions in the flesh just aren't practical. Little ones like great-grandchildren will react to seeing your face and hearing your voice so that when you visit for the holidays, you're already familiar.
Maybelle Carter offers a computer in the residence living room where they can access the Internet using the router in our offices. This allows residents to have a link to the outside world across the world wide web. Indeeed, there are several ways Tennessee seniors can use modern technology to have more frequent interactions with grown children and grandkids.