As we age, staying on top of our overall health is important. However, meeting health goals should not just be about physical health and physical exercise.
Cognitive health is an important part of whole-person wellness, even if you already have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. In fact, exceptional memory care communities already know the importance of offering residents multiple ways to stay cognitively active, and technology can often play a key role throughout these specialized communities.
Here are just a few ways that technology has enhanced life in memory care communities in the past few decades.
Improved Cognitive Fitness
It’s never too early — or too late — to begin focusing on daily cognitive fitness, including learning new skills. Even for those who are already living with some type of dementia, taking moments to participate in failure-free cognitive activities can boost self-esteem and even decrease anxiety.
The National Institute on Aging reports that participating in cognitive activities can boost “cognitive reserve.” Technology can help caregivers in memory care communities make cognitive activities a bit more fun.
You might see a caregiver in a memory care community using a tablet to look up old commercials on YouTube to use during a reminiscing group or to pull up trivia about baseball during a pre-lunch discussion group. Residents might even participate in cognitive fitness sessions on their own, using programs on community tablets or PCs.
Safety and Security
Using technology in memory care settings means increased safety and security. Thanks to easy-to-use call button systems, residents can easily call for help if they need it.
Beyond medical alert systems, technology also ensures residents who like to wander are safe in their journeys. Many memory care communities have locked doors that are opened via a special code; this ensures residents can wander safely without strolling outside of the secured neighborhood. Many times, courtyards are accessible without a code so that residents can enjoy nature when they’d like to.
Family Communication and Collaboration
Technology also makes family communication and collaboration easier. For example, Arbor Company memory care communities invite family members to participate in the building and evaluation of individualized service plans. These specialized plans ensure residents are given customized care based on their personal history and preferences. Family members are a crucial part of the service plan equation, offering insight into their loved ones that can be quite helpful when building and adjusting a care plan.
Before, families would need to come in for regular care plan meetings to offer input and hear from the interdisciplinary team. Now, family members can access meetings via video calls so they can keep up with their loved one’s care from miles away.
Family communication is also easy thanks to private social media channels and emails, giving a glimpse into their loved one’s life through newsletters and photos.
Finally, technology plays a big part in the quality of life for residents of memory care communities. Programs and events are elevated when technology is in the picture, creating possibilities such as virtual museum tours and trips or social hours led by entertainers who are miles away. Family members can drop in to participate in group trivia sessions, and local elementary schools can perform plays while residents watch.
These opportunities are not only handy during times of social distancing, but they also allow residents to experience programs or events that can’t be brought into the community.
Better Staff Training
At Arbor, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to use technology to serve residents and team members in our specialized memory care neighborhoods. Our team can use technology to increase their knowledge of best practices for dementia care and to develop their empathy through virtual reality training modules.
We never stop looking for ways to meet the needs of those who call our communities home. If you are curious about how technology is used in the Arbor community nearest you, call to request a tour. Our team members are always excited to showcase how we are using technology.
In the meantime, download our free resource The Visual Guide for Keeping an Older Mind Sharp. You’ll find statistics about senior cognitive health and tips on how to incorporate cognitive work into your daily routine.