Modern medicine has allowed us to treat many serious conditions such as polio, mumps and measles. It can also alleviate the symptoms associated with common colds and viruses, and in some cases, save lives. Unfortunately, there are some things that modern medicine cannot do. Memory loss conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s are progressive, and the medicine we have available today cannot prevent or treat the symptoms. This is why alternative therapies are so important.
Let’s explore a few non-medical therapy ideas for managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
It’s amazing when older adults struggle to remember their past yet can sing along to their favorite songs. Music is something that most people find enjoyable, and it can be effective at triggering past memories and enhancing cognitive abilities. At the very least, playing music results in calmer, happier individuals. Bond with your loved one over classic songs.
People with cognitive impairment can benefit from the creative arts, whether it’s drawing, painting or coloring. Art allows individuals to express their emotions and communicate their needs. Art therapy is also effective at encouraging older adults to use their imagination, which can support cognitive skills. The next time you visit your loved one, bring along a coloring book or set of pastels.
Exercise comes in many forms, and it brings physical and emotional benefits to all ages. The key is finding the right exercise – one that promotes self-esteem and well-being. For example, you might think that a dance class would be fun and low-impact for your loved one, but trying to follow a routine can prove challenging. Some of the most rewarding exercises for those with memory impairment including stretching, yoga and walking.
These days, aromatherapy is popping up everywhere so it’s not hard to find essential oils to use around your loved one. Research shows that certain essential oils are effective at decreasing anxiety and insomnia and improving appetite. Also, scent is connected to parts in the brain that are responsible for forming memories. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about which oils are best and how to use them safely.
Having a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be a scary and uncertain experience, especially when there’s no simple medicine to “fix” the symptoms. Remember that there are many non-medical therapies that can be used to manage your loved one’s symptoms, improve cognitive functions and enhance quality of life.