Cognitive Stimulation for Seniors: The Many Ways Its Addressed at Heritage Communities

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The Heritage at Shalimar Gardens Assisted Living

For more information about the author, click to view their website: The Heritage at Shalimar Gardens

Posted on

Jan 19, 2024

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Nebraska - Eastern Region

Whether it’s cardio drumming, banging plastic tubes together to make tones, or sifting through clues to solve a murder mystery, residents at Heritage Communities are benefiting from an inspired approach to cognitive stimulation for seniors.

At Orchard Pointe at Terrazza in Peoria, Arizona, Life Enrichment Director Cindy Powell says it’s about building a program of activities based on the interests of residents. “I’m always looking to find the next big thing that will pull in their strengths and combine socializing with physical movement,” she says. “We want our residents to constantly have new things to do, as well as something new to talk about.”

Cognitive stimulation for seniors: mixing fun with learning

Here are just a few of the activities seniors at Orchard Pointe at Terrazza benefit from:

Boomwhackers

Who knew plastic could be this much fun? Science World offers this definition: “Boomwhackers tuned percussion tubes are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, tuned to musical pitches by length. Boomwhackers produce musical tones when struck together, on the floor, or against nearly any surface. They have a “sweet spot” that is a few inches from the end of the tube that gives the best tone.”

Playing with boomwhackers incorporates cognitive stimulation for seniors through fine/gross motor skills, physical movements, attention span, creativity, education, impulse control, and more. “You do not have to be able to read music to participate, because the sheet music is color-coded,” says Powell. “In fact, most residents pick up the songs so quickly they don’t need any written music anyway.”

Cardio Drumming

Powell loves the results her team is getting from involving residents in cardio drumming. “I had one resident say, ‘I don’t know why, but I’m always so happy after cardio drumming.’ We began cardio drumming in our Heritage community because of the benefits it offers those with Parkinson’s. We had a resident with Parkinson’s who wanted to be more involved in activities, and I wanted to come up with something that would be exciting for him.”

“When this gentleman first started cardio drumming, it was hard for him to keep up with the rhythm. But after just four times of being in the group, he was doing great with the rhythm, and just kept improving. You could see his confidence grow.”

Powell says activities such as this work the body as well as provide cognitive stimulation for seniors. “Cardio drumming relieves tension, which in turn means a release in serotonin and dopamine, benefitting both sides of the brain. Seniors in cardio drumming have less anxiety and depression, improved reaction time, and greater confidence. And research has confirmed participating in cardio drumming at least three times a week can significantly improve cognitive function.”

“Residents in cardio drumming are simply happier, which really excites families,” says Powell. “They know their loved one is not sitting in their room.”

Solving Crime Mysteries

Reading intriguing case files. Sifting through clues. Considering suspicious suspects and comparing notes with others doing the same. Then discussing theories and sharing “solutions.” If it sounds like a great deal of fun, it is. In fact, both Powell and Heritage Pointe at Terrazza Senior Living Counselor Debra Bowls agree it’s been a major hit with residents.

“When residents first move in, they are excited to meet new people and make friends,” Bowls says. “But after a while, they can get bored. That’s why these mystery games are so wonderful. They introduce new energy and interest. Residents discuss suspects, police reports, and their theories. The dining room just buzzes!”

Powell says she works through each mystery first herself, and then guides residents, being careful not to reveal any secrets. “They study the case, record their notes about clues in their own books, and then discuss. It’s so popular; that they wish the meetings lasted longer than an hour! The whole process takes about a month. And it offers great cognitive stimulation for seniors because it makes them think out of the box.”

There’s a bit of extra fun involved. “We’re calling it Margarita Mysteries,” says Powell. “I give them a margarita, but only if they will stay and be part of solving the case.”

The connection between stimulating the brain and having fun with others is what makes Heritage communities such an excellent choice, says both Powell and Bowls. “When people come through our doors researching senior living, the first thing they see is happy people. Residents are rehearsing their role in the bell choir, or playing games, or exercising. It is a way of life in a Heritage community. One of our core values is fun. Another is teaching. And we are doing both.”

“We are truly looking to change the world for seniors at Heritage by keeping our residents happy, active, and engaged. Whether it’s arts and crafts, music, exercise, solving mysteries and more, we love it when a resident says, ‘I’m glad it’s the weekend. I’m exhausted!’”

More friends, more activities, more smiles! Download our free guide, The Family Decision Toolkit. Or contact us today 402-721-1616 to learn more or schedule a tour.

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concern?  What items do I want, or can I take with me?  How much is my house worth in its present condition?  What repairs and maintenance items need to be addressed to make the house more sellable, and what are the costs of those?Is It Time to Sell Your House and Downsize?Only you can answer the above question.  One of the primary items to consider is whether your house is too large or is just not the best housing option for your current or future needs.Has the death of a spouse made you ask if now's the time to move?  This can certainly occur after the loss of a loved one.Has your house become too much of a burden?  Has navigating stairs become a challenge or a danger to your health?Are there repairs or deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed?  Ignoring these items will not make them go away.  You may no longer want to take on the do-it-yourself projects that you once did.  These items may not be possible because of your current finances, or you just don't want to spend the 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the event itself, which may be at the house, online, or a combination of both.  For the home owner, this relieves the stress and hassles of handling all of the details that can come with an estate sale.One challenge that I often hear about is the timing of the sale in regards to needing funds to get the home owner (parent or loved one) into senior living, selling the house, having the estate sale or getting funds for the the belongings in other ways, and cleaning out the house to get the house sale ready.Home Downsizing Solutions can solve these problems by BUYING the house, getting the funds from the sale of the house to the seller/family immediately so that funds are available for senior living, having the estate sale to generate additional funds if possible, and then handing possession of the house to Home Downsizing Solutions "as is," with or without any stuff.  Home Downsizing Solutions will take care of any of the stuff you don't want, need, or can't sell.Other Options When You Don't Have Enough Stuff For An Estate SaleWhat happens in situations where there's not enough inventory to have an estate sale?  This can often happen once you've determined the items you want to keep, items you want to give to family and friends, and items you want to see donated to a favorite charity.Some home owners decide they still want to try to monetize the items they have left, which can lead to trying to sell items individually or by having a garage sale.  This can be financially successful, but you will need to consider the time and effort of organizing all of the items, pricing the items, marketing the event, and what it takes (especially your time) to have the actual sale.An easier "done for you" option is to have a company, like Home Downsizing Solutions, purchase your house and all of the "stuff" in it!  This allows you to just make one call to have your house and all the stuff in it sold, making the transition to a smaller home or apartment less stressful!Additional Resources For Downsizing Your HouseAlthough dealing with all of the stuff in your house to be able to make the transition to your next home can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be with the right resources. There are great estate sale and other companies that help with a person's belongings and the transition to a smaller living arrangement.There are services that can assist with packing & moving, finding the right senior living community.And, there are great services, like Home Downsizing Solutions, that can buy your house, take care of the stuff in the house, and facilitate moving to your next home, apartment, or other senior living arrangement.If you have questions, or we can be of service to you and your family, please contact us at (855)-433-5854 or at www.HomeDownsizing.comBen Souchek is an author of the book Home Downsizing Secrets, and the owner and founder of Home Downsizing Solutions, a company that specializes in helping home owners transition from their current house to a 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