Cognitive Stimulation is used to describe any action taken to maintain or improve the gaining of knowledge and its use. Many people believe that an individual with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related Dementia is just going to gradually decline in their ability to remember, make judgments, relate to other people, know where they are, who they are, and when it is, and express their personality. This is not the case. Other medical conditions, traumatic events, a lack of interaction, and even a bad cold or other every day illness can affect the individual’s ability in any or all of these areas. Constant vigilance by a qualified professional can identify areas of interest, and opportunities for improvement in many areas of functioning. Sometimes cognitive stimulation is as simple as having a conversation, listening to music, or watching a television show together; observing and listening to the individual’s responses and encouraging increased socialization. Cognitive stimulation can also involve the introduction of activities – games, crafts that offer challenges in learning, remembering, and co-ordination. It may include reality orientation – assisting the individual to identify the time, date, location, and others that are present. The use of a certain tone of voice, music, repetition, etc. throughout the day can reinforce or reintroduce memories that may seem to be lost.
At Arcadia Home Care we ensure that our staff have the knowledge and experience to understand the individual and “go into their world” to join them on their journey and to find ways to make it more comfortable and enjoyable.
Behaviour management refers to strategies used to encourage and support appropriate and independent activities. Incontinence is a common problem of aging and is often accepted as irreversible when an individual has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or a related Dementia. However, it can often be reduced or delayed by understanding an individual’s ‘signals’ and introducing a regular toileting routine. Simple adjustments to the bathroom and the use of personal products can also promote independence. Agitation, aggression, and even violent behaviour may accompany other symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and related Dementias. Again, understanding the individual (and the disease), identifying activities or events that are distressing and reducing or eliminating these can encourage appropriate behaviour and support independence. These often relate to eating, bathing, grooming, toileting, sleeping, and socialization. Timing, adjustment of lighting and noise, and the use of language, including the tone of voice can all be used by the qualified professional to reduce distress and agitation.
At Arcadia Home Care we work closely with the individual’s physician, other health care professionals, and the family to develop an individualized plan to address all of these areas.