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How Cognitive Stimulation is Beneficial for People with Dementia?

How Cognitive Stimulation is Beneficial for People with Dementia?

The term dementia is used for a collective group of symptoms that often appear in older people, and include memory loss, adverse effects on social abilities and thinking, that may cause disruptions in their daily life. While memory loss is a significant symptom, it is not the only one and not always the most definitive of dementia. Dementia causes both psychological and cognitive changes that can adversely affect the elderly’s daily life. 

Psychological symptoms can include agitated behaviour, paranoia, inappropriate behaviour, anxiety, depression, changes in personality and even hallucinations. Among cognitive changes, the symptoms include difficulty in reasoning, problem-solving, handling complex tasks, coordination and motor skills. They may also include visual and spatial abilities like losing one’s way, difficulty in communication or finding words and overall disorientation and confusion. All of these can negatively impact one’s life and cause even more alienation, unhappiness and poor health. However, with the advancement in studies on dementia, some methods and techniques have been deemed as beneficial in coping with dementia. 

Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is one such tool that is employed frequently in dementia care. Cognitive stimulation essentially means a series of mental exercises that help stimulate the brain. In the case of dementia in the elderly, cognitive stimulation implies a wide range of enjoyable activities usually in small groups or other social settings, which help stimulate memory, concentration and power of reasoning and thinking. As research proves, the human brain is elastic and has the capacity to grow even later in life. Some believe that cognitive stimulation offers as much relief for dementia as medicines. When used together with medicine, CST can prove highly beneficial to elders with dementia. Whatever be the belief, the benefits of CST for dementia are manyfold. 

  • Cognitive Stimulation therapy for the elderly with dementia, first and foremost, includes brain activities for the person. With dementia, many elderly lose the ability to self-motivate or empathise. By engaging in CST by trained professionals, they are encouraged to partake in social activities and more, that help stimulate their brain and thus stay more active and happier, mentally. 
  • The second most important aspect of CST in dementia is social interaction. As the therapy often takes place in regulated groups, the elderly get a chance to interact socially outside of their families. This helps nurture friendships and emotions and gives them the confidence that is lost due to the challenges of dementia. Loneliness in old age can also worsen the situation and CST is tailored to tackle this, by exposing the elderly to other people of their age or an empathetic caregiver, who knows the techniques of the therapy. 
  • Within a social setting and with the added confidence of having interactions or solving puzzles, the individual with dementia now faces a fresh purpose in life, experiences a new-found self-confidence and thus leads a happier life. 
  • CST also helps exercise the brain of the patient, thus reversing or reducing some of the symptoms of dementia. With increased social interaction and newfound confidence, the elderly may feel more comfortable in social settings, when they can remember things or do the everyday tasks that may have proven difficult before. 

Cognitive stimulation, as explained above, works efficiently in treating the symptoms of dementia in the elderly. However, these activities should be designed, conducted and overseen by certified professionals, who specialize in elderly care. At Samvedna, our professionals are highly trained in conducting such group activities and all the activities are monitored by a clinical psychologist. As the needs of the people vary, we offer tailored dementia care therapy programs that are designed to suit the Indian context. The Cognitive Wellness Program is designed for the elderly with mild cognitive impairment or mild to moderate stage dementia. It takes place in a non-threatening supportive environment where participants are given individual attention. The well-structured activities take place in a small social group and are closely monitored and facilitated by clinical psychologists. This program keeps participants actively engaged, which in turn has proven to slow the progression of dementia. This gives the elderly a chance to make new acquaintances and also improves their self-confidence, communication skills and improves overall quality of life.

For moderate stage dementia, Samvedna offers other dementia programs that provide a supervised platform in a caring and non-invasive environment that can harbour social skills and friendships. These programs involve mental, tactile and sensory stimulation and help to set a routine, improve orientation and communication and also enhances social interactions. 

If you have a loved one suffering from dementia, take the opportunity to understand them and help them lead a better and more purposeful life with specialised programs on cognitive stimulation. 

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