Approaching Memory Care Activities Moment by Moment

The Gardens Memory Care at Linden House Assisted Living provides an array of engaging activities for residents living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. To best serve residents’ individual needs, our daily schedule of activities has something for everyone.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) requires two hours of daily memory care activities for each resident. We proudly exceed this requirement with nine hours of offered activities each day, scheduled from 9 AM – 7 PM.

Our memory care community offers activities that touch upon eight categories of engagement: cognitive, physical, social, sensory, outdoor, nature, productive, and reflective. These categories will often overlap with one another, promoting a more well-rounded experience for each resident.

Every day is different, both in resident outlook and the types of activities available. We take pride in our staff staying flexible, patient, and animated to meet residents’ everchanging needs.

Cognitive Activities

Cognitive activities exercise brain muscles to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Studies from the National Institutes of Health suggest that engaging in cognitive exercises may help delay the progression of dementia. We also know that the joy of learning never gets old!

When perusing The Gardens activities calendar, you will notice cognitive activities such as Daily Chronicle, Finish the Phrase, Name that Tune, Trivia, and Short Stories. Short Stories are particularly popular amongst memory care residents. Oftentimes, over fifteen residents will join our Activities Assistant, Erica, as she excitedly tells the candid, courageous, and reverent tales from Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Porch Stories.

Physical Activities

Memory care residents playing balloon ball

Physical activities provide light, daily exercise for our residents. Not only does regular exercise promote physical health, but Livestrong also reports that exercise is directly linked to higher self-esteem. This benefit is particularly important for residents who may become increasingly frustrated with their cognitive health.

Memory care residents frequently enjoy exercising with activities such as Ring Toss, Afternoon Stroll, Balloon Ball, and Move and Groove. During these physical activities, many residents’ faces will shift from stoic expressions to smiles. Few things beat the excited smiles that residents share as they stretch their arms for Balloon Ball or strike a dance pose during Move and Groove.

Social Activities

Social activities invite residents to come together in small groups to create meaningful relationships with their peers. Whether participating in a game or creative activity, memory care residents often enjoy the opportunity to work towards a common goal with one another.

Many of our social activities overlap with another category of engagement, allowing residents to engage multiple parts of their brain in each activity. Residents frequently enjoy activities such as Sing Along, Tea Time, Puzzle Mania, and Bingo together. Bingo is a notable favorite, as the winner can choose from a variety of prizes after spelling B-I-N-G-O!

Sensory Activities

As the name implies, sensory activities engage one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Sensory activities are particularly important for memory care residents because they encourage individuals to thoughtfully connect with their bodies and minds.

Some of the sensory activities offered in memory care are Manicures, Healthy Habits cooking class, and Aromatherapy. In addition to these activities, our Sensory Room also stimulates the five senses to engage residents in a more individualized manner.

A resident sitting in the sensory room at The Gardens Memory Care at Linden House Assisted Living

As a Music & Memory® Certified Care organization, we also recognize that music can evoke emotions, create connections, and stimulate joyful behaviors. By creating personalized playlists for residents, staff can help memory care residents reconnect with the world through music.

Outdoor Activities

Residents experience a variety of benefits from spending time outdoors. In fact, research from Psychology Today indicates that 30 minutes of daily outdoor time can prevent cognitive decline. For that reason, we are excited to offer an array of outdoor activities for our residents.

Residents will often frequent our secluded courtyards for relaxing time outdoors. Additionally, our green-thumbed volunteers help facilitate outdoor activities such as Gardening, Afternoon Stroll, and our Friday Scenic Route drive. Many residents thoroughly enjoy trips around the Branchland campus to see this spring’s newly hatched goslings, as well as to enjoy the beautiful gardens and local church.

Nature Activities

Similar to outdoor activities, there are a number of cognitive benefits for memory care residents who frequently interact with nature. Nature activities include bird watching, flower arranging, and pet interaction.

Woman sitting with therapy dog in The Gardens Memory Care

Residents are often overjoyed when our therapy dog comes for his weekly visit. In fact, his joyful and calming presence is proven to reduce stress in memory care residents by releasing happy chemicals in the brain. It’s no surprise that he always brings a smile to everyone’s faces!

Productive Activities

Productive activities promote each residents’ physical wellness through the practice of life skills. These activities can include tasks  such as setting the table, making decorations for a community-wide celebration, and folding clothes.

Our attentive memory care staff provide daily assistance to each individual resident, as needed, with their activities for daily living (ADLs). In the process of partaking in these productive activities, many residents begin to form substantive relationships with our memory care staff. Even the simplest of activities bring a new dimension of light and happiness to our community.

Reflective Activities

Reflective activities help each resident gain opportunities to deepen their personal spirituality. We recognize that each individual has their own spiritual path, so we provide varied opportunities to nurture the soul.

Reflective activities include reminiscing, spiritual music, and church groups. The results of these activities are nothing short of magic. Driving attention towards the inner, spiritual self allows residents to reconnect—to some degree—with who they were before the disease.

Woman in pink reading outside of Linden House

Cluster Activities

While each category of engagement is created equal, residents may favor certain activity types over others. For residents who are uncomfortable with group activities, staff will create “cluster activities” to provide more individualized attention.

Cluster activities are memory care activities that are personalized to each individual resident. For example, a former administrative professional with incredible attention to detail may be more comfortable working through a form or crossword puzzle than a game of balloon ball. With cluster activities, residents can exercise their brains in the way that is most appealing to them.

A Day in the Life of a Memory Care Resident

Our variety of daily memory care activities establishes an incredible sense of community. This positive impact extends to our residents, but also to our staff who consider Branchlands to be their home away from home.

All volunteers can participate in activities with residents, allowing for new personalities and fresh faces to contribute to each activity. Linden House Assisted Living residents who are transitioning into Memory Care will often join activities at The Gardens to meet residents and become familiar with our daily schedule.

Wondering what a typical day of activities looks like in a memory care community? Here is a fun-filled weekend from our May schedule.

Certainly, the best way to experience Branchlands is to visit. To get a first-hand look at our variety of activities, call 434-973-0311 or click the green “Request A Tour” button at the top right of this page.