Transforming Dementia Care

Jul 2, 2024 | Alzheimer's & Dementia

Dementia care can be a challenging journey for both caregivers and family members alike – that’s a massive understatement.

But there’s a new approach on the horizon that is making a significant difference: Life Activity Centers. These centers provide meaningful activities that tap into residents’ past experiences and skills. They’re not necessarily about keeping residents busy – but about nurturing their passions and giving them a sense of purpose. Most importantly, they’re revolutionizing the world of dementia care.

What Are Life Activity Centers?

Life Activity Centers recreate environments that resonate with the early life experiences of individuals with dementia. They’re highly personalized and individualized, catering to the specific needs and backgrounds of each resident. The science behind them is sound. According to Craig Rukande, the Director of Memory Care and Engagement for Priority Life Care, LLC, it’s common for people with dementia to revert to habits and roles from their past. Memory’s not a function of just one process in the brain, but rather, a collection of different systems. People with dementia (or Alzheimer’s, for that matter), may struggle with short-term memory but remote, long-term memory is often left completely intact. Providing personalized spaces that allow seniors to fully (and safely) experience their beloved roles from the past is both healthy and beneficial.These familiar activities can help to reduce agitation and improve overall well-being. What does this look like? For someone who was once a parent or teacher, it might look like a nursery. For a retired carpenter, it might be a workshop. Ultimately, these spaces can dramatically improve the quality of life for those with dementia. Familiarity is important, especially when it’s part of a daily routine, because it can help reduce stress and anxiety. These activities are also beneficial because dementia eventually impairs someone’s ability to plan and initiate an activity – by going through the motions of an activity they’re already familiar with, people with dementia can retain some of their sense of control.

The Role of Staff Training

Creating an engaging environment goes beyond setting up these activity centers, requiring well-trained staff who understand deeply the unique needs of each resident. Staff members should be trained to involve residents in daily tasks, like helping in the kitchen or taking care of baby dolls in a nursery, to empower them and build a sense of community. Craig Rukande shares a touching story about a resident who had been a carpenter. At the Life Activity Center, he found joy in making bird feeders at a workbench. Another resident, who was a natural caregiver, spent hours happily holding a baby doll. These activities are not just about keeping residents busy – they provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

How Tanglewood Trace Can Shape the Future of Life Activity Centers

As we continue to understand the profound impact of these centers, they will become a cornerstone of dementia care, offering personalized, meaningful engagement for every resident. At Tanglewood Trace, we are committed to providing exceptional dementia care. Our Life Activity Centers are tailored to meet the unique needs of our residents so they receive the best possible care. You’re not just selecting a care facility – you’re choosing a community that values and empowers its residents. Reach out to us today to learn more about our Life Activity Centers and how they can make a difference in your loved one’s life.
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Testimonials

Extremely happy! My family member moved here earlier this year and we have nothing but ...
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Keri
Extremely happy! My family member moved here earlier this year and we have nothing but great things to say about the care, communication and compassion Tanglewood has for their residents. We were a bit nervous about moving our family member here, we had experienced an unpleasant environment with another assisted living community. Needless to say, we are beyond grateful for the wonderful team at Tanglewood. They have great communication and are always willing to go the extra mile to check on their residents. Highly recommend!!! I know that there are a lot of places people can choose from, hope they would pick Tanglewood.
Keri
Keri
We moved my grandmother here about a month ago and so far it's been wonderful. ...
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Morgan
We moved my grandmother here about a month ago and so far it's been wonderful. Jennifer gave us a great tour and all the information we needed and the rest of the staff has been very friendly towards my Grandmother and her dog. We are very happy we moved her to Tanglewood Trace!
Morgan
Morgan
My husband's favorite aunt was placed in this facility by her children, and I was ...
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Angelica
My husband's favorite aunt was placed in this facility by her children, and I was very impressed with everything I saw when we visited. It was very clean and everyone was very polite and helpful. We were also glad to get updates from our family about how well the facility was handling the CoVID-19 pandemic. I know that my husband's cousins have been very happy and are not worried about their mother's health or well being while at Tanglewood, which says a lot with how crazy 2020 was. Overall, my husband and I are impressed with what we have experienced and heard, and we highly recommend this facility.
Angelica
Angelica
I think it is best to start with understanding that Tanglewood Trace handles not only ...
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Samuel
I think it is best to start with understanding that Tanglewood Trace handles not only Independent Living but also Assisted Living and Personal Care. I think the reviews really should be based on that aspect in mind. I speak with regard to Assisted Living. My great aunt spent 4 years at Tanglewood and without reservation I always felt exceptionally comfortable with the standard of care at this facility. I really enjoyed whenever I would visit my great aunt that the nurses and practitioners at the center would greet me by my name and always would ask me personally if my great aunt was happy with the care as she was not always so critical. Understanding within reason - the nurses and practitioners always would be honest as to when and how they could react to a concern I had on behalf of my aunt - and if reasonable we would see the results shortly after. Often my great aunt just wanted to have more towels on a different day or evening or even - more simply - ask for additional services with my help when I visited that would always be acknowledged. I highly recommend Tanglewood - proximity to Notre Dame and the University Park Mall were awesome benefits.
Samuel
Samuel
I have so many positive things to say about the Tanglewood Trace team and caring ...
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Helene
I have so many positive things to say about the Tanglewood Trace team and caring experience that they provide...My parents in law moved from IOWA in early 2023 into Tanglewood's Assisted Living to be closer to family. The warm welcome that they received by the staff and the other residents was just the beginning of their positive experience. Tanglewood's diverse calendar of activities and entertainment, the lovely dining room and variety of daily tasty menu options as well as the personalized care that the staff provide are some of the many good things I can attest to. When my mother in law suffered some falls that resulted in a broken leg and surgery, the Tanglewood nursing caregivers and therapy department rallied to assist her through her healing journey, and she continues to improve with their support. When my father in law's cancer recently became critical and he needed hospice care, Tanglewood's knowledgeable, accessible and caring Executive Director and Director of Nursing as well as numerous caregivers guided and supported us in keeping him in his AL apartment with my mother in law. He was able to pass away with dignity with both hospice and Tanglewood's diverse team (nursing, dietary, maintenance, housekeeping, and other caregivers) working collaboratively. My husband and I were by his side, as was my mother in law, at Tanglewood, when he passed. The Tanglewood team surpassed our expectations beyond words throughout this journey. We are grateful to have my recently widowed mother in law living there, where we can continue to visit her in this next chapter. Thank you again to the Tanglewood family of caregivers and to the numerous caring residents that are watching over my dear mother in law.
Helene
Helene

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