A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia should not lead to a lack of engagement or an unstimulated life. Studies show that meaningful activity and engagement in one’s environment through continued opportunities to learn, to socialize, and creatively express oneself through art or music can be far more effective than pharmaceuticals interventions to help people living with dementia improve their memory, mood and cognitive skills, as well as to help them to cope with memory loss.
Benefits of meaningful activities:
- Mental Stimulation & Cognitive Health
- Physical activity and general health benefits
- Social Interaction
- Improved Sleep habits
- Improved self-esteem
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved quality of life
- Reduction in agitated behaviours leading to greater positive interactions with caregiver and family members.
MUSIC IS MAGIC!
According to the British Medical Journal, music is the best type of therapy for reducing behavioural and physiological symptoms of dementia. For those living with dementia music activities have also been shown to improve general attention, cognitive memory, speech and communication skills. Indeed music can improve anyone’s overall health and wellbeing - listening to favourite tunes lowers stress related hormones, maintains cognitive health, encourages social and communication skills and improves physical health through movement and dance - so music is beneficial for families and care providers as well as those living with dementia.
In Bermuda Hayley Francis Cann provides music therapy through Synergy Music Therapy. www.synergymusictherapy.com
Hayley Francis Cann, BMT, NMT, MTA, MScAH
Haley is a Bermudian-Canadian certified music therapist and neurologic music therapist with clinical experience in a variety of settings. Hayley completed a Masters of Science in Aging and Health at Queen’s University, has released two Children’s books, is a member of the Dementia Society of America Advisory Council and the serving Professional Developmental Chair for the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT). In everything she does, Hayley aims to provide an authentic experience that is respectful toward all people no matter their age, diagnosis, background, race, religion, or additional social locators.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
In addition to the physical benefits associated with exercise, movement and stretching can help to boost mood and improve a sense of well-being. Establishing a gentle exercise routine for those living with dementia has been shown to help overcome sleep problems and reduce agitated behaviors such as restlessness and wandering. With Bermuda’s beautiful beaches, trails and parks there are plenty of opportunities to get outside on Bermudaful days to incorporate light exercise into your daily routine.
Francis Smith provides seated chair exercises through Actively Aging Bermuda which encourages senior adults to improve their physical and mental well-being through gentle exercise.
ART AS THERAPY "losing language, gaining creativity"
It is widely believed that art can be an expressive outlet for those living with dementia, as a different part of the brain is engaged through art than is used for language. Helping people to express thoughts or emotions creatively - particularly for people with language loss where the visual side of their brain is less inhibited by the verbal side - allows visual creativity to flow in even those who have no creative background. Art therapy can have immediate benefits if it is set up for success and enjoyment - consider personal preferences and memories to avoid frustrations. Art stimulates the senses, relieving stress showing cognitive and behavioral improvements and an increased self-worth and confidence.
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art - Art with Kendra
Masterworks also has free entry on Mondays for over 65yrs.
AAD’s Community Programs
AAD offers music and movement activities to benefit those living with dementia in Bermuda. These activities are offered at no charge in an engaging, creative and safe environment. Please see our Monthly calendar for dates and times!
Due to COVID-19, AAD successfully pivoted to online programs in March 2020, and we continue to offer our community programs online via Zoom. Once it is safe to do so, we will resume in person activities once again.