Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related conditions can be extremely difficult. For family members and friends, the most important part of your life becomes making sure your loved one receives the best care possible to live each day with purpose and meaning. Among staff at The Hearth, providing compassionate care for residents and giving them every opportunity to feel happy and fulfilled is more than their job; it’s their passion. 

The Hearth’s community life staff leads interactive activities and engages residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related conditions every day to insure their lives are full of meaning and joy. With professional experience and a genuine passion for providing optimal care, The Hearth’s staff are sharing not just their knowledge, but their personal understanding, experiences, and advice for family members caring for loved ones who live with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related conditions.

Facts That Will Surprise You About Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

  • 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s
  • 16 million Americans provide voluntary (unpaid) care to individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions
    • That adds up to 18.5 billion hours of care

What You Should Know When Caring For Your Loved One:

It can be difficult to see your loved one lose the abilities they once had, and as their behavior changes from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to remember certain aspects of care that will help them sustain enriching lives. Here are some tips from staff at The Hearth that can help.

Consider communication

  • Have a warm and comforting tone when talking to them.
  • Asking yes or no questions can help avoid confusion or frustration. For example, “Would you like some tea?” instead of, “What would you like to drink?”
  • Try using different words if your loved one doesn’t understand what you said the first time.

If your loved one becomes agitated or angry try to

  • Speak to them calmly and attempt to comfort them. Listening to their worries or concerns, rather than dismissing them, can help them feel less frustrated.
  • Maintain a regular daily routine.
  • Have some quiet time built into your loved one’s daily schedule in addition to their activities.
  • Gentle touching can be soothing for some.

Make sure they have activities to do every day

  • Avoid activities that have multiple steps. Simple activities that can be completed in one or two steps can feel more enjoyable and less overwhelming.
  • You don’t have to do the same activities every day. Trying new activities can help them feel engaged.
  • Let your loved one watch you do activities if they find that more enjoyable.

Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related conditions can be incredibly difficult. The Hearth at Drexel’s team of compassionate staff make sure to provide your loved one with enriching activities that fill them with joy and purpose. Discover how their memory care services can help you and your family by clicking here.

Meet the Staff: Caring For Residents Like Family

Community Life Coordinators at The Hearth at Drexel, Sarah Hayes and Rachel Wilnauer, both say that empowering residents in memory care to live happy, fulfilling lives is not work; it’s their passion. Their jobs motivate and inspire them on a daily basis.

Rachel and Sarah both began working at The Hearth in January of 2019, and their passion for working with older adults, especially those in memory care is deeply rooted in their personal experiences with family and loved ones. Sarah took care of her grandmother for over three years who now lives in an assisted memory care community.

I give the same care to residents that I would want other staff to give to my grandmother. I do all that I can to make sure each resident is engaged, loved, and cared for.

– Sarah Hayes, community life coordinator at The Hearth

Also motivated by family, Rachel says that her initial interest in providing care for older adults began after her grandmother was disappointed with the occupational therapy she received. “Occupational therapists would come in and work with her, and she would tell me that she was bored and wanted to do more. It made me wonder what I could do to help older adults in a way that would engage them in activities they’re interested in,” she says explaining that her grandmother’s experience has a lot to do with where she is today in her career.

Joining in On Memory Care Activities: Making Art with Residents

With new and exciting daily activities, residents in memory care at The Hearth participate in everything from painting to music and dancing and even spending time with animals like guinea pigs, bunnies, and a friendly companion dog named Daisy. As they engage in a variety of activities, residents fuel their everyday lives with fun and creativity.

One of Sarah’s favorite activities to do with residents in memory care turns everyday items into beautiful works of art. With just a coffee filter, markers, water, and a paint brush, residents express their creativity and create a masterpiece.

A simple process with a spectacular outcome, Sarah prepares the activity by coloring the coffee filters with magic marker and placing them over blank canvases. Residents dip their paint brushes in water to coat the surface. As residents brush strokes cross the canvas, their masterpiece comes to fruition.

“The outcome of this activity makes them so happy,” says Sarah describing how thrilled memory care residents become when they reveal their final work of art.

“I have a whole collection!” says memory care resident, Carolyn Williams, as she places her completed works of art one in front of the other.

Adding joy and excitement to their day, this artistic activity paints the perfect picture of everyday life in memory care with staff and residents at The Hearth.

If you or your loved one is looking for compassionate care from staff who treat residents like family, discover how The Hearth enriches the lives of residents every day by visiting their website and clicking here.

Or to read our blog post on The Hearth’s Inspiring Today approach to memory care, click here.

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