By Melissa Stivers, Director of Admissions
In 1906, about 25 years after Women’s Christian Association of Kansas City, Missouri was founded and about 20 years before Armour Oaks Senior Living Community was built, a German doctor named Alois Alzheimer first noticed a patient with a disorder that presented with memory loss and other cognitive issues. After the patient’s death, the autopsy revealed shrunken parts of the brain. This was the first official observance of Alzheimer’s disease. We have learned many things over the years to decrease risk, prolong memory, etc. But we are still in the research stage for cures and aides. As a caregiver or loved one, we are constantly trying to alleviate our loved ones’ difficulties they have with Alzheimer’s and we find that patience and creativity seem to be a big part of those in the beginning to middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Here are a few of my own examples of using some of today’s everyday resources to add small moments of joy to those with Alzheimer’s:
I found out that one of our residents (with a mild form of dementia) was into country/folk music. I began to invite him into my office every day or so and we would play a song or two on YouTube. He loved to see the old concerts and hear the music! It brought him back to a time that he could relate. He had been feeling so alone but those music breaks seemed to really cheer him up!!
When I first moved into my past position as Resident Service Coordinator at Armour Oaks, I met a woman that I’ll call Rose. Rose was graceful and outgoing but very depressed and anxious. One of the things that upset Rose was that she worried about her father. Now, her father had clearly already passed away, but that was something that Rose could not remember on a regular basis. One day she came into my office with her suitcase packed and announced that she was ready to go home and help her father with the family business. I asked her what the address of it was and she remembered! When we typed it in to Google Maps Satellite, we were able to see his old Barber Shop still up and the apartment on top, which her family had lived in. That day she took me on a tour throughout her old neighborhood by using the program. She had such a wonderful time that she was much more willing when we discussed that she unpack her suitcase and perhaps stay a while longer.
Digital Photo Frames
A great idea that a family member had for one of our residents (with a mild-moderate form of dementia) was to get her grandmother a digital photo frame. We have WiFi included in the apartments and so the granddaughter regularly uploads photos onto the digital frame to keep current pictures cycling on a daily basis for her grandmother to take in. It has worked wonderfully and has made this resident so happy!!
About Armour Oaks
Armour Oaks is dedicated to providing a secure, homelike environment where seniors can live with dignity and independence while receiving the very best in personalized health and social services to meet their needs. The staff and Board of Directors share a commitment to the person-centered approach to senior care without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, handicap, disability or religious belief.
8100 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64114