Memory loss tend to be among the first signs of cognitive decline. Home Care Assistance pioneered the Cognitive Therapeutics MethodTM (CTM) to boost brain health for clients at all levels of cognitive functioning, activities have varying levels of difficulty. Memory is one of the cognitive functions affected by neurocognitive disorders, however, our proprietary CTM activities not only stimulate memory, but also executive functioning, attention, language and visual-spatial perception.
The Memory domain is the component of cognition that most people think of when they think of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Typical age-related declines in memory include minor forgetfulness, such as not remembering why you entered a room or where you left your keys. When deficits become severe enough to interfere with daily living, an underlying neurodegenerative disorder is likely at play.
Research over the past few decades has advanced the understanding of neuroplasticity and we now know that the brain can adapt throughout life. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself in response to injury or disease. Thus, the brain can compensate for functional loss by re-mapping connections or creating new ones. In order for these connections to be maintained, they must be stimulated through cognitive activity.
Memory changes can be frustrating and for those with a form of dementia, they can be life-altering. Thus, exercising this domain is crucial.
Here are two examples of the fun activities CTM uses to engage the memory domain:
Memory Cards, on the left, is similar to the common childhood game, Memory. This activity uses a deck of cards with matching sets of pictures. A few pairs are selected by the caregiver, shuffled and placed upside down. The client is then instructed to turn over two at a time and collect all the matches. He or she must remember the location of given images in order to find the pairs quickly. This activity can be made more or less challenging depending on the number of cards used.
In Picture Details, on the right, the client is prompted to look at an image for a set amount of time. The image is then hidden and the client is asked some questions about the details of the picture that was just shown. Images and questions vary in difficulty so the activity can be customized for each client.
Research shows that cognitive stimulation can slow the progression of cognitive decline, including memory, and delay the onset of new symptoms. Because CTM is designed to boost brain health for clients at all levels of cognitive functioning, activities have varying levels of difficulty. Thus, caregivers are able to adjust activities to each individual client’s needs and interests to ensure they are effective and enjoyable.
CTM activities were designed to be fun and effective. Since the goal of each activity is to engage the various domains of the mind, we don’t place an emphasis on finding the “right answer”, but instead focus on the thought process. We strive to make sure the client is always having fun, feeling confident and exercising each cognitive function, regardless of whether or not he or she has the correct response.
Our caregivers at Home Care Assistance Prescott receive comprehensive, in-person training as well as follow-up and online training through our Home Care Assistance University. They are actively supported by a team of Employee Care Managers and use a suite of tools to successfully implement each activity in the program, including an Instructions and Answers Guide.
“[Since starting the program, my wife] has begun reading the newspaper on occasion, loves working on jigsaw puzzles again, spends time actually preparing meals by herself, does most of clothes washing on Monday and has started picking out the clothes she wants to wear plus more too numerous to mention.” — G.D., Client
If you or a loved one could benefit from non-pharmacological cognitive activites with a CTM-trained caregiver from Home Care Assistance Prescott, call us at 928-771-0105. Improving the mental functioning of our valued clients is just one more way we can help seniors live well at home and change the way the world ages.