Memory lab was started in later half of 2010 with an idea of providing stimulating activities to the dementia patients. “Meaning activities matter to all human beings, this need does not change for someone living with dementia”, observes Teepa Snow an expert in dementia care. Memory lab has multiple advantages. Some of them are –
- provides an opportunity to staff and family to connect with PwDs
- focuses totally on the PwDs thus helping them boost their self image and confidence level.
- perks up their mood
- provides opportunity to socialize (to PwDs as well as caregivers), and
- showcases how the PwD’s could be kept busy in interesting activities at home.
Memory lab is a happy experience which many caregivers say preserves PwD’s happy mood even after they return home.
A research study reported on the website of www.caregiverstress.com says that “a clear, consistent benefit on cognitive function was associated with cognitive stimulation. The benefit remained evident even after the treatment for one to three months. Cognitive stimulation reported improved quality of life, improvement in communication and interaction with others. World Alzheimer’s report of 2011 also reports improvement in functional status and psychological well being.
These activities are important because PwDs are seen to withdraw from activities, family and friends. Maintaining relationships and interests reduces the effect of cognitive loss leading to a better quality of life.
Teepa Snow further says that (from the website of Alzheimer’s reading room) entertainment and other activities are essential for the well being of PwDs. It can make a difference between a boring day and a day filled with purpose and contendedness. Snow says that reaching out to PwDs in earlier stages may be actually more difficult than those with later stages because they are still lucid enough to know that something is seriously wrong with them and many are angry and frustrated by that. But she feels that caregivers should keep trying after taking short breaks to engage them again.
Here is what the patients and caregivers say about Memory Lab –
“It provides a relaxed atmosphere and seeing PwDs laugh and enjoy makes me feel happy” – a caregiver
“I like to return to the memory lab again and again because I get to meet my friends”.
“I like the lab because I stretch my brain and it makes me feel good about myself”
Each session of the lab is distinct. Activities provided match the cognitive level of the PwD’s. Activities may include puzzles, observation exercises, mathematics, discussion on interesting topics, music, art activities, and games.
Besides regular activities of memory lab and support group every year activities such as a picnic, music programme, pot luck parties, short outings are arranged. These activities provide opportunity for socialization and provide a much needed break both to the caregivers and the patients. Socialization is necessary for preserving brain’s health. Alzheimer’s association points out that, “socialization enhances the lives of those affected by dementia and their caregivers”.
- In 2017 a picnic was arranged on 8thof January to Raj Baug in Loni Kalbhor.
- In March a Jalatarang Music Programme was presented by Pt. Milind Tulankar. Nearly 150 persons attended this programme. Mr. Tulankar’s performance was enjoyed by all the patients and their caregivers.
- A visit was arranged to a music kiosk in the month of May.
In September Kojagiri was celebrated by singing “chand” songs and enjoying refreshments.