Abe’s Garden Memory Support offers a variety of intentional engagement opportunities seven days a week and from morning through each evening. The opportunities are based upon the interests of residents and program participants, utilizing remaining abilities with consideration of reduced attention spans.
The individualized programming fosters freedom of choice, is purposeful, and reflective of activities that residents participated in during earlier phases of their lives. Abe’s Garden Memory Support has adopted Hearthstone Institute’s I’m Still Here ® approach to engagement. The approach includes the use of clubs, classes and committees that reflect the interests of those living in the community. For example, residents may choose to participate in, or lead, a cooking class, join the book club, or assume a leadership role in the film or volunteer service committees.
Additionally, use of the I’m Still Here approach enables engagement at all stages of cognitive and physical health.
Abe’s Garden Memory Support offerings include engagement activities in the following categories:
Connection to Nature
The intentionally scaled and landscaped central courtyard features an interactive water feature, fireplace, nature discovery area, raised garden beds, covered walking path and outdoor kitchen and grill.
The therapeutic benefits of connecting to nature are abundant; and this purposefully designed outdoor space provides:
- Gardening opportunities
- The health benefits of sunlight
- Exposure to the unique sights, sounds and smells of nature
- Exercise opportunities
- A sense of freedom and independence
Exercise and Movement
Physical activity and exercise have been found to reduce depression, enhance mental alertness, and improve physical function in people with dementia. Movement is also the basis of all non-verbal communication and becomes a primary source for self-expression as verbal communication decreases.
Abe’s Garden Memory Support offers daily structured exercise programs and walking groups. Residents are encouraged daily to walk outside and to engagement activities if they are able.
All residents are also encouraged to use the NuStep recumbent elliptical machine for strength and endurance training. The machine has a swivel wheelchair seat and adjustable resistance levels, and provides a low-impact, full-body workout that simulates the motion of walking.
Research has demonstrated that animal-assisted therapy increases engagement and decreases the frequency of agitation in individuals with dementia. The daily presence of a dog or a cat can evoke positive memories and encourage the joy that humans experience from leaning on, hugging and petting animals. Many of our residents and program participants had a pet at one time in their life, and Abe’s Garden Memory Support encourages a similar bond in this phase of life. Therefore, pets are an important component of the engagement program.
Our beloved pet family currently includes a cat, numerous birds and fish.
Art increasing the ability for self-expression and communication. Creative expression is known to help reduce stress, fear and anxiety, improve mood and decrease agitation and outbursts of those living with dementia. Our Life Engagement team frequently incorporates various forms of art activities into each week at Abe's Garden Memory Support.
Music is beneficial for those with dementia, and prevalent at Abe’s Garden Memory Support.
The campus frequently welcomes visiting musicians. From college students to big bands and celebrities from a variety of music genres, performances enliven the day.
Music engagement benefits include:
- Elevated mood
- Boosted socialization
- Increased movement / range of motion
- Encouraged self-expression
- Maintained cognitive functioning / attention
- Decreased wandering
- Reduced preservation (persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act) and anxiety
Music & Memory
Abe’s Garden Memory Support is certified and provides Music & Memory ℠, a customized playlist program for people living with cognitive and physical challenges. Grounded in extensive neuroscience research and the subject of a Brown University study funded by National Institute on Aging, Music & Memory enlivens memories, enabling participants to once again converse and socialize.
Personalized music can:
- Reduce reliance on anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and/or pain medication by helping decrease depression, anxiety, and pain
- Awaken memories and improve quality of life
- Boost mood, influencing listeners to be more social and receptive to care and family visits