Fostering a safe, secure and stimulating environment where seniors citizens can roam around freely and independently while remaining completely attentive and safe from harm is a valuable piece to effective senior care. When considering options for yourself or your loved one, an environment that will stimulate the mind, body, and spirit should be near the top of your list. As you age, one of the major causes of decline is social isolation. A stimulating environment helps combat that isolation by offering activities and programs that will keep seniors engaged both mentally and physically in the environment around them. So, how do you create a stimulating environment? In this article, we will review multiple ways to make a stimulating environment in various senior care settings.
Assisted Living Setting
The main focus of assisted living facilities is to ensure that residents are living a healthy, fulfilling life. Seniors are placed into a modern, comfortable setting in an attempt to make them feel like their at home instead of an assisted living facility. According to The Gerontologist, Volume 47, author Lois J. Cutler mentions that “The nature of the space available to residents or tenants as their own and the nature of the surrounding space available to the entire Assisted Living community can enhance or detract from the functioning, emotional well-being, social involvement, and satisfaction of the resident.” With this in mind, caregivers should make sure that the physical living environments are stimulating and pleasing to each resident. Here are some ways caregivers can create an engaging environment for seniors in an assisted living setting:
- Reduce or remove environmental stressors like sudden loud noises, fast-talking or even consistent background noises.
- Invite them to partake in activities like aromatherapy. The use of lotions and scented oils are known to soothe, calm and even reduce blood pressure levels in older adults.
- Make a space for residents to relax. Consider rearranging a room with a window and set up comfortable chairs along with other amenities to ensure the resident is in a cozy and relaxed setting.
Memory Care Setting
People with Alzheimers and dementia often have memory loss or some others kind of cognitive disability which makes them more sensitive to their physical and social environments. Alzheimers.net notes that “Keeping aging loved ones active in hobbies and interests that gave them pleasure in the past is important after a disease diagnosis.” There is a certain feeling of euphoria that is achieved by bringing up old memories of the seniors. It also allows and encourages self-expression that helps alleviate feelings of anxiety and irritability by reminding them of the good times in their life. When caring for the memory care population:
- Encourage conversation to help stimulate laughs and memories.
- Make their environment resemble a home instead of a hospital.
- Have outdoor areas easily accessible and safe to navigate.
- Provide senior’s with a familiar routine.
Home Care Setting
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, “Nearly half (48 percent) of family caregivers are caring for someone who lives in his or her own home, while an additional 35 percent are sharing a home with the loved one they’re caring for.” A majority of senior citizens intend to continue living in their homes for as long as possible. Being at home provides a sense of comfort and independence by allowing people to live in the home they worked so hard to afford and maintain over the years. Making you or loved ones home stimulating can be quite easy, you might even have or done some of these things already. When caring for a loved one at home consider:
- Looking at family photos to help spark good memories.
- Incorporate some crossword puzzles to help stimulate the mind.
- Allow them to participate in gardening activities to help move the body.
- Integrate a therapy program like music, art or aromatherapies to inspire the spirit.
- Embrace activities like cooking to help keep them feel involved as well as independent.
At Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, we take the necessary steps to offer an environment that will stimulate the mind, body, and spirit of our seniors. Our Director of Recreational Services, Dania Durosier explains that here at Spring Hills, “We are dedicated to caring for our seniors by focusing on their specific needs and desires. By doing this, we are designing a stimulating environment that will enhance their quality of life, respect time-honored passions, and engage seniors in new experiences.” To learn more about our Signature Programs, click here.