Technology May Enhance Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, but Human Connection Leads It
At Benchmark Senior Living, human connection is at the heart of everything we do, especially when it comes to our Mind & Memory Care program. This article describes how we use technology to enhance our residents’ daily lives and help their families check in.
Human Connection is First and Foremost
Our Mind & Memory Care residents receive round-the-clock care from our compassionate associates. They work each day to cultivate a sense of belonging and purpose among our residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, we educate our staff in memory loss and empathy, essential information to know when caring for residents with dementia. This training includes Benchmark’s award-winning Connect First program, which teaches strategies for communicating with memory loss residents.
An Individualized Approach
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Benchmark’s Mind & Memory Care program. Each resident is treated as an individual with their needs being at the forefront. Our associates provide personalized care to support each person’s abilities, helping them connect to what matters most, no matter the stage of dementia. Our use of technology fosters those connections. Here is an overview of some of the tools we bring to our Mind & Memory Care neighborhoods.
Technology for Sensory Stimulation
Sensory stimulation technology can help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by stirring memories. Many of us experience constant sensory stimulation throughout the day, from going to work, running errands, or performing simple tasks. However, dementia obstructs sensory stimulation, and humans need it to thrive. In Benchmark communities, our residents regularly participate in sensory activities. It can be as simple as incorporating a pleasing scent or playing music from a resident’s childhood and as advanced as our Sensory Magic program, which engages residents with soothing lights, sounds and colors.
Virtual Reality for Nurturing Passions
Rendever is a virtual reality (VR) platform designed for senior living communities. For example, Mind & Memory Care residents often engage in reminiscence therapy, which enables them to revisit beloved memories. Residents can also nurture their passions and interests by virtually exploring destinations. Another VR tool we use at Benchmark is the GestureTek Cube, which creates immersive virtual reality experiences for resident-led simulations incorporating movement.
If a resident can engage in movement, they can use SMARTfit Strike Pods. These interactive fitness devices help with balance, gait, and coordination.
An App that Tracks Residents’ Preferences
When a resident moves in, we record detailed information, such as their preferred daily schedule, likes, dislikes and passions in the TSOLife app. We use this information to create personalized care plans. Additionally, we capture their life story with the app as a virtual scrapbook for their families.
Safety is paramount when caring for residents with memory loss, and they may have trouble managing their medication and schedules. To help keep residents safe, medications are securely stored in a biometric safe and administered by our associates. In addition, some residences are smart room-enabled to provide personalized security, connection and comfort.
An App for Families to Check In
When a family member is unable to visit their loved one, they can check in through the Benchmark App. This app allows families to check in on daily activity offerings and communicate with our programming team.
Tablets are another tool we use in our senior living communities. With a little assistance from an associate, a resident can have virtual visits with family and friends.
At Benchmark, every aspect of our Mind & Memory Care puts our residents’ needs first, including the use of technology. We use it to help our residents find joy in each new day and connect with what matters most to them. Learn more about Benchmark’s Mind & Memory Care.