What Stimulates Seniors

Anthony1Hi this is Anthony Diaz from Rosas Chante. Last week we talked about our arts and crafts. This week I want to share more about what stimulates seniors.

As a caregiver, you know how difficult it can be to summon up the energy to do what is in the best interests of the senior that you are looking after. It can be exhausting however, if you can keep elderly people occupied, then you have made their life as well as your life a little easier.

Mental stimulation in seniors works wonders for their mental health. Having them feel like they are doing something will provide you with a welcome break from your usual caring routine. Setting aside a specific period every few days will also ensure that you are doing something fun with them. For the senior, it often proves to be the highlight of their week because they finally recognize something and respond to it. It breaks the monotony for them and can actively be used to calm them. They also see a light every now and then in the dark tunnel of the mind, and they can often remember it and look forward to it.

It is important to mentally stimulate elderly people in your care to keep their minds as sharp and active as possible. Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and dementia, amongst other ailments, must exercise their minds as often as possible and finding the right ways to achieve this could take forever, unless you have a little bit of help and advice. Medical research has found that some forms of stimulation are better than others because of the way in which the mind responds to certain stimuli.

Outdoor activities that involve animals are also perfect activities for seniors. Having BBQ’s and gatherings are fun for the elderly. They begin to feel part of. Music stimulates them and having a music activity now has proven with studies to make seniors healthier and happier. Exercise programs, music therapy, arts and crafts as well as board games, Wii, really help seniors begin to think that they have life left to them. Remember, pay attention to what stimulates the person you are caring for.


The Benefits of Arts and Crafts for Seniors

creativeHi, Anthony Diaz here to talk about the benefits of arts and crafts for seniors. Recently I’ve started a program at Rosa’s Chante that focuses on creative food art. Offering art and crafts programs can provide positive opportunities of participation to seniors of all capabilities.

Group activities in general encourage socialization, communication, intellectual stimulation and by adding the creative element helps with self-expression that can lead to a sense of well-being. There is also the therapeutic advantages of the activities encouraging hand eye coordination and movement.

At Rosa’s Chante, the activity director focuses primarily on crafts with food. The director includes anyone interested in planning what would be fun to make and do each week thus creating an atmosphere of group participation. The food arts and crafts ensures that there is a treat for everyone of any capability while providing an opportunity for socialization.

For example, in the last couple of months Rosa’s residents have built Rice Krispie snack houses. The Rice Krispie snacks were a resident’s idea and the building houses was the creative aspect. Another day they made matzo cracker and cheese fishing ponds. Last week, upon the residents request they had a tropical cocktail hour, without the alcohol, that was a hit with most of the residents. I brought in pina colada, strawberry, lemon-lime flavored slushes that the activities director put in martini glasses and served with crackers and cheese. The residents laughed and made jokes, generally enjoying a freeing social moment. Another week we had melon kabobs, even residents with very little cognition and function were able to enjoy the melon.

The benefits of arts and crafts for seniors are wide-ranging in effect, stimulating the senses, providing opportunities for socialization, creative self-expression and simple fun. Seniors need relief from the day-to-day reminders of pain and aging and arts and crafts, or food crafts provides a satisfying avenue toward such relief.


Laughter is Good Medicine

laughterEvery so often, I love to share stories of the residents and some of the wonderful ways they put a smile on our face. Sometimes, I do not think it is their intention to make us smile. For instance, when they play soccer on the table with their meatballs, of course they know they are going to bring a smile to our faces. It also means my staff has to clean the tables extra good, but that’s okay, everyone enjoys a good laugh and laughter is good medicine.

I think what I really love is the “accidental” laughs that occasionally happens here, for instance, a resident that does to like what we are serving for dinner. One late afternoon, a client did not like what we were having for dinner. They were offered several other choices, but they just paced and waited by the front door. Imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang and there was a pizza delivery man with over 70.00 worth the pizza. What could we do but pay him since they made the order and serve up pizza that night. Though not funny at the time, I love to look back with laughter in my heart on this one.

Speaking of laughter in my heart, what about a resident, who has a difficult time walking and even dressing because of the stroke, however, their mind is as clear as a bell? I was at home one weekend and enjoying time with my family when all of a sudden, my staff phoned me saying there was a car dealership outside with three new cars to be test driven by a client who decided they were going to buy a car. Even though they could not drive, they decided to call the dealership and have them bring by several cars.

I am unsure what the neighbors thought as these cars were lining up and a well-dressed sales representative and his staff all pull up ready to make a sale. Imagine the surprise on the dealerships face when they realized they were trying to sell a car to a home the specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s. Don’t get me wrong. We take this very serious, however, sometimes in life, you simple have to giggle when things settle and you look at the full picture.

It is important to look at some of the things our seniors do with a light heart and simply smile rather than allowing it to create stress in your life. Look for the silver lining with mishaps like this and warm your heart rather than creating stress. After all, they say laughter is good medicine.