In recent years, there has been a growing consensus among assisted living facility leaders that nostalgia can be a powerful tool to help Alzheimer’s patients to reconnect with their lost memories. In other words, by using familiar images, sounds, places and even smells, family members and caregivers may be able to improve the lives of the people they care about most.
For example, you may have seen the video of Simon McDermott singing with his father, Ted. In the video, Ted, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, sings along happily, reconnecting with a powerful memory from his younger years. It really is a wonderful thing to watch!
Well, today, I came across an example of an assisted living community that is trying to use nostalgia to help their memory care patients to feel more at home. On a purely cosmetic level, I’m not sure if I agree with their decorating skills. The golf-themed carpet seems a little cheesy and the little houses are pretty closely packed together. That said, I definitely applaud their efforts to help their residents connect with their best memories.
In designing this section of their assisted living facility, Lantern of Chagrin Valley was going for a 1940s look. The little homes are definitely cute and the lighting even changes during the day to create a more natural feeling.
According to the News-Herald, even the smell of the facility has been carefully planned to help Alzheimer’s patients to connect with their memories. As Andrew Cass of The News-Herald said, “Different aromas also are pumped into the air, providing a therapeutic benefit. Peppermint and frankincense, for example, help with anxiety.”
The same article points out that Lantern of Chagrin Valley is not just helping residents to connect with their past; it is also helping them to adjust to their current realities and prepare for the future. The facility offers practical classes to help memory patients to deal with everyday tasks, from dressing to bathing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
What do you think of this unique assisted living community? Do you think that the 1940s look and feel will actually make memory patients feel more at home? Would you consider inviting one of your parents to stay at a facility like this if they needed a little extra support at some point in the future? Please join the conversation.