Welcome to the “Ready. Set. Summer! Kensington Caregiver Support Series,” a platform dedicated to illuminating the path of caregiving for our seniors.
At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we are passionate about nurturing and enriching the lives of our seniors, particularly those in our assisted living and memory care programs.
This commitment is echoed in our upcoming series, promising insightful discussions led by aging experts on topics ranging from art and music therapy to caregiver mental health.
Our next workshop, “Together in Harmony: How to Meaningfully Use Music with a Loved One with Dementia,” is set for July 12 at 3 p.m PDT.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn and connect. RSVP for the event and sign up for the remaining parts of the series to ensure your place.
Effective communication is crucial in fostering connections between caregivers and their loved ones, particularly those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we emphasize strategies to facilitate this communication.
Understanding that behavior is a form of communication is key. Behavioral changes in loved ones could be an attempt to express something they are struggling to verbalize due to cognitive changes. Responding with patience, empathy, and reassurance can build trust and promote positive interactions.
Our series began on June 28 with “Creative Communication Strategies to Navigate Summer,” in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. This workshop will arm caregivers with effective communication strategies to foster deeper connections with their loved ones.
- Observe and interpret changes in your loved one’s behavior as potential communication attempts.
- Use non-verbal cues such as touch, eye contact, and body language to communicate.
- Respond with patience, empathy, and reassurance to build trust and foster positive interactions.
- Integrate visual aids or other communication tools to facilitate understanding.
Music holds a universal appeal and has a transformative impact on individuals, particularly seniors. At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we integrate music therapy into our enrichment programs, creating an environment that resonates with harmony and joy.
Music can stimulate the brain, activate various regions, and evoke powerful emotional responses. For seniors, particularly those living with dementia, music can act as a bridge to their past, triggering memories and emotions. Listening to or creating music can lead to increased social interaction, mood enhancement, and improved cognitive function.
The transformative impact of music therapy will be explored on July 12 with Tara Jenkins, a Board Certified Music Therapist and founder of Harmony in Dementia, in “Together in Harmony: How to Meaningfully Use Music with a Loved One with Dementia.”
This session will explain the therapeutic power of music in stimulating memory recall, regulating mood, and facilitating social interaction among seniors, especially those living with dementia.
- Create a personalized playlist of your loved one’s favorite songs from their youth.
- Incorporate music into daily routines such as mealtimes or rest periods.
- Engage in music-based activities like singing, dancing, or even simple percussion play.
- Observe your loved one’s reactions to different types of music and adjust your selections accordingly.
Art therapy, a powerful tool integrated into the daily life of our residents by our dedicated life enrichment team at The Kensington Sierra Madre, opens new avenues for emotional and cognitive stimulation in seniors.
Encouraging seniors to engage in artistic activities like painting, drawing, or pottery promotes self-expression and taps into their reservoir of memories and emotions. It offers an alternative communication route, particularly beneficial for those struggling with verbal expression due to cognitive decline or memory loss.
Artistic expression activates the brain, stimulating cognitive function, and may slow the progression of disorders such as Alzheimer’s. The creative process can also bring about a state of ‘flow,’ where the individual becomes fully absorbed, promoting concentration and focus.
Join us on July 19 for our next series feature “Art for the Aging Brain,” led by experts from the Scripps Gerontology Center.
Attendees will be guided through the world of art therapy and how it can foster improved communication, emotional expression, and cognitive stimulation, particularly for seniors dealing with memory loss.
- Plan regular art sessions tailored to your loved one’s cognitive and physical abilities.
- Use simple art materials such as colored pencils, watercolors, or clay.
- Encourage your loved one to freely express their emotions and memories through their artwork.
- Display their artwork around the home to show appreciation and encourage continued participation.
Caring for seniors, particularly those with cognitive disorders, can be emotionally demanding. Caregivers need to maintain their mental fitness to provide the best possible care for their loved ones.
Understanding the crucial role caregivers play, “Caregiver Mental Fitness” facilitated by Braden Bishop, a caregiver advocate and former Major League Baseball player, on August 16th will underscore the importance of caregiver mental health, balanced lifestyle, and self-care.
- Schedule regular self-care activities like exercise, balanced eating, and ample rest.
- Practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep-breathing exercises to manage stress.
- Create a support network of friends, family, or professional counselors to turn to when you need emotional support.
- Take breaks when necessary to recharge and avoid burnout.
The demanding nature of caregiving can lead to a busy life, making balance essential. At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we provide resources to help caregivers strive for this balance, including our blog page, recommended books, and Kensington Konnect.
Finally, on August 23, gerontologist Sherri Snelling will lead “Weekly Wellness Plan to Find Balance & Joy for a Busy Life,” providing caregivers with a sustainable wellness plan to maintain balance amidst their busy lives.
- Develop a structured daily routine to manage time effectively.
- Allocate time in your schedule for relaxation or hobbies.
- Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance to avoid over-commitment.
- Delegate tasks where possible and learn to say no when overwhelmed.
Our dedicated life enrichment team infuses art, music, and a host of therapeutic activities into our residents’ daily lives, promoting overall well-being.