Cognitive decline is an issue that many adults face as their loved one's age. From mild cognitive impairments to full-onset Alzheimer’s disease, loss of memory is one of the most debilitating and devastating parts of aging. With all of the research and studies on the brain and memory in particular, though, many therapies have arisen to aid in slowing the progression of this decline.

The skilled care of a memory therapist or trained professional staff can improve memory performance in the elderly. Through this method, working memory is trained and information is transferred throughout the brain in ways not found otherwise. Long-term use of memory training has been found to help increase the results in many older adults.

Memory Therapy Training Programs 
The idea of cognitive therapy through memory training programs has been around for some time, but over the last decade studies and programs have become more widely known and accepted. The scientific fact is that when the brain is mentally stimulated, it responds more than it would without a stimulus present. 

In many past cases, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline simply meant that eventually, you would have no memory anymore. It was cut and dried and devastating to the individual and their family. Once the affected individual reached a certain level of impairment, an assisted living facility or nursing home were often the only choices the loved ones had.

Now, there are facilities like that offer memory training programs through assisted living, skilled nursing, physical therapy, and speech therapy. This care is offered as part of a community designed for senior adults in a secure, supportive environment.

The science of memory therapy says that when the brain is mentally stimulated through certain activities, cognitive and functional abilities can be maintained and may even improve. Through the use of carefully designed strategies based on an individual’s particular requirements, a person with cognitive decline can be taught again how to encode information and then retrieve that same information.

These type of skills include mnemonic techniques like rehearsal, categorization, imagery, and word association. Studies have shown that memory performance after this type of training can help with immediate and delayed recall as well as other mental abilities, keeping the brain active and impeding the progress of dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, effects from strokes, and more.

How Can Memory Therapy Help Your Loved One?
If your loved one is suffering from a form of cognitive decline, whether it is mild or severe, they may be able to benefit from memory therapy. This therapy may be scheduled or immersive, depending on your area. Immersive therapy is considered to be the best way to get consistent results. Once you find a facility that participates in this type of training, you can schedule a comprehensive assessment of your loved one.

In a facility like Parc Provence, residents are assessed for their overall abilities, including physical, cognitive, and emotional strengths. They are then grouped into a specific household based on their results, which helps them get the peer-to-peer social interaction that is needed at any age.

From there, they will have a daily schedule created for them based on their own likes and dislikes, needs, and interests. Therapies such as art, music, plant care, and more have been found to benefit cognitive impairment and are often used as part of memory treatment. 

Residents will have group activities with others who share their common interests, and if their activities need to be modified for better enjoyment and participation, that is adjusted as well. These activities take place in the residents’ households, at central locations, and as outdoor outings in the community locally. Amenities such as cafes, salons, chapels, and nature walks are encouraged in memory treatment facilities.

Every minute counts with cognitive decline, so therapy for those with memory impairment happens every day. Since the type of treatment is based on each person’s interests, this is often considered more play than work. For twelve hours each day, these activities are designed to increase socialization between peers, staff, and family members, encouraging mental stimulation in the most natural but strategic ways possible.

Memory therapy occurs in regular hobbies and activities like art and music, but it can also be included in other aspects of daily living that are often required in the elderly. Speech therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists integrate memory therapy techniques into their treatments for consistent and useful stimulation.

What to Look for in a Facility That Offers Mental Therapy
While mental therapy can be obtained outside of a skilled nursing facility, the results are best when they are in a consistent, controlled environment. Because of this, it’s best to find a facility with a high staff-to-resident ratio every day of the year, with the staff trained in memory care.

Facilities with full memory care training are rare but in demand. Be sure the one you choose can accommodate your loved one on their functional level, has 24-hour nursing care available daily, and that the nursing care is supervised by a registered nurse that is also available full-time.

Other resources that you should look for when choosing a facility that offers memory care include geriatric physicians that work with the facility and social workers to guide you through the process and help your loved ones adjust to their new way of life.

Is Memory Therapy Right for Your Loved One?
An immersion in a memory therapy facility may be a big step for you, but if your loved one’s cognitive health is in decline, it may be just what they need to reduce the rate of memory loss or stop it altogether.

By finding a facility that specializes in memory therapy based on the individual’s assessment and performance, you get the benefit of knowing that your loved one will be with peers with whom they share common interests and have similar levels of decline. This will help them get the specialized attention that they deserve and require.

Through long-term memory therapy, you may be able to help your loved one prevent a full slide into memory loss and live their life content and stimulated.