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Wise and Wonderful: Music and Memory

Wise and Wonderful: Music and Memory

Wise and Wonderful: Music and Memory

One of the things we pride ourselves on at Sunshine Retirement Living is designing programs that are as unique as our residents.  Not only do our residents have different likes/dislikes, hobbies and passions but they also each have unique wellness needs.  All of our Communities offer our residents all-inclusive wellness and activity programs that are continually being updated and improved based on resident feedback and requests.

With over 20 years on senior living experience Sunshine Retirement Living has been recognized as the authority on specialized senior care services.  While we are known for our cutting edge wellness programming for independent living, assisted living and memory care, we feel that one of the most important areas to continue to educate the general public on is memory care.  For this reason, during the grand opening of our new assisted living and memory care Community, The Gardens at Brook Ridge in Pharr, TX we took the opportunity to share with listeners on KURV 710 some important research about the specific wellness needs of those suffering from memory loss.  The broadcast was so popular we decided to share some of what we discussed on our monthly wellness blog, Wise and Wonderful.

One of the most powerful findings in seniors struggling with memory loss is their uncanny ability to connect with the past.  Depending on the type and severity of their Dementia a senior may not be able to recognize a close friend or family member, but may still be able to recite the words from one of their favorite 1940’s songs.  In addition, seniors who practiced a particular trade or profession throughout their life will much more likely be able to demonstrate the skills of that profession than they would be able to learn and recall even the simplest task that was previously unfamiliar to them.

Due to the unique wellness needs of our residents who will soon be residing at our memory care Community in Pharr, TX we have designed a particularly special wellness program for The Gardens at Brook Ridge.  It is very important for our residents to feel that they are still independent, but equally important to make sure they are safe.  We have a number of programs in place that help our residents feel as though they are still making important daily decisions while trying to eliminate any unnecessary anxiety.  For example, every evening we place a different outfit in each resident’s closet so the resident may wake in the morning and dress themselves without the anxiety that comes from having to choose the proper thing to wear.

Another example is our dining room services and choices.  While we understand that when given a list of three options on the menu, our residents experiencing memory loss will tend to choose the last option we still provide them three options so they may maintain that sense of independence.  Thirdly, we know how important it is for our residents to be able to continue to connect with nature as well as feel that they may come and go as they please.  We do not lock our doors, making our residents feel trapped but rather offer a secure environment with beautiful gardens and courtyards for our residents to enjoy as they wish.  Our GPS tracked emergency pendants allow us to know exactly where each resident is and they garden fences around our beautiful courtyards assure us that our residents will remain safe in their home!

As mentioned earlier one of the most amazing talents of our residents experiencing memory loss is their ability to connect with music!  In fact in the Sundance Film Festivals 2014 documentary, Alive Inside not only do we learn that seniors have a powerful connection to music, but we also learn that after listening to music they are able to recall and respond much more effectively when engaged in a conversation.  Inspired by this documentary Sunshine Retirement Living will be giving all of our memory care residents a complimentary iPod and speaker as part of their welcome home package.  The iPod will be programmed with individual music and pod casts that the resident has been known to connect with and enjoy!  Our hope is that this will not only ease some of the anxiety those suffering from memory loss tend to have, but we also believe that this will help our residents maintain their goal of being able to remain independent and engage in conversation.

One final feature of our memory care specific wellness services is the unique structure of our daily activity program.  We understand our residents are most likely to connect with things they remember from their past, including their previous profession.  For this reason, our daily activity program follows the following outline:

  • 8:00am Participatory breakfast help is welcome!
  • 9:30am  Daily Exercise: Sit and Stretch, Happy Bones, Movin’ and Groovin’, Yoga, Tai Chi, Etc.
  • 10:30am Nutrition: Fresh Squeezed Juice or Vitality Smoothie
  • 11:00am  Mind Exercise: Trivia, Puzzles, Word Games, Etc.
  • 11:30am Participatory lunch help is welcome!
  • 1:00pm Life Skills (Relating to previous profession/hobbies): Gardening, Pipe Fitting, Knitting, Quilting, Small Engines, Etc.
  • 2:30pm Social Hour: Current Events, Travel Talk, Ice Cream Socials, Happy Hours
  • 3:00pm Daily Music and Art Appreciation Hour: Live Music, Karaoke, Sing-A-Longs, Hymns, Name that Tune, Art Walks, Etc.
  • 4:00pm Walking and Nature: Scenic Stretch and Stroll.
  • 4:30pm Participatory dinner help is welcome!
  • 6:00pm Short Story Hour
  • 7:00pm Movies: Old Westerns, Classic TV Shows, Classic Movies, Etc.

For a full list of our daily activities please view our Resident Activity Calendar.

As with all of our wellness programs at Sunshine Retirement Living we will continue to follow the latest research to help us to develop the most unique and successful programs possible.  At the present time we could not be more excited to share our brand new signature Sunshine memory care wellness program with all of our residents at The Gardens at Brook Ridge.  We hope that by doing this we inspire others to provide a similar program for the seniors they know who are working through this unique wellness need.

Take Care and Be Well,

Denise Park
Wellness Director
Sunshine Retirement Living

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living