If your loved one is living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may be considering moving them into a Memory Care community. Making such an important decision is not only difficult and emotionally draining but can also be confusing. When looking at the best options for your loved one, it is important to understand the methods and approaches that are being used by a specific community. Increasingly, non-pharmacological approaches and interventions have emerged as an alternative method for not only addressing the behavioral and emotional symptoms caused by dementia, but for enhancing quality of life and ensuring dignity for those with memory challenges.
Watching a loved one transition from being a caregiver to receiving care is never easy. It’s natural that it takes some time to learn how best to provide the right care at the right time. Our comprehensive caregiver checklist helps you navigate this journey, every step of the way. Find out how and when to provide access to the resources they need to live a full life, and what you can do when it’s time to call in additional help. Download your copy today →
Let’s take a closer look at what a non-pharmacological approach towards dementia and Alzheimer’s care entails:
First and foremost, a non-pharmacological approach aims to enhance the life of a person living with dementia while improving or maintaining their cognitive function. Without the use of pharmacological treatments, caregivers can focus on the actual person, their strengths and capabilities, and their specific likes and dislikes rather than focusing solely on their disease. With this approach, the person being treated can maintain a positive emotional state and good cognitive health without feeling limited by any memory-related impairments.
Most people living with dementia will, at some point, experience behavioral symptoms such as depression, aggression, agitation, difficulty sleeping, and wandering. These behaviors are often the person’s way of communicating that they are in distress, have a need that is not being met or are feeling threatened. The non-pharmacological approach enables the person to perform their usual activities and daily routines while addressing these symptoms instead of inhibiting them with medication. It is essential that a caregiver can recognize the behavior as a call for help, consider the individual’s personality, likes, and dislikes, and ultimately determine the appropriate systems to put in place to help resolve the unwanted behavior.
One of the most effective non-pharmacological ways in which a caregiver can keep behavioral symptoms at bay while improving or maintaining cognitive function is with intellectual engagement and physical activity. Providing those living with dementia with high-end events and programs ranging from current events discussions, hands-on art projects, mentally-stimulating exercises, outings to local museums, and exercise classes is crucial. A study found that those living with dementia and engaging in such activities experience lower levels of depression and aggression, and are less dependent on their caregivers.
In addition to being cost-effective and free of side effects, a non-pharmacological approach provides opportunities for those living with dementia to strengthen their cognitive capabilities and be more socially interactive while experiencing fewer behavioral symptoms. If you are considering a Memory Care community that embraces a non-pharmacological approach, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or to schedule a tour.