Massages, manicures popular with residents who have dementia

Familiarity key aspect of effective supports at Rosebridge Manor, LEC says

The offer of massages and manicures is proving to be a popular and soothing way of supporting residents who have dementia at OMNI Health Care’s Rosebridge Manor.

Kathy Barr, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Rosebridge Manor, says women and men alike enjoy and benefit from the hands-on activity provided weekly at the Jasper long-term care home.

“Spa nights are really good for their emotional well-being,” Kathy says.

There’s also the reminiscent aspect.

Residents identify easily with certain activities such as spa night, as it’s an example of an activity they enjoyed prior to moving into long-term care. Providing that familiarity is important.

“Those are the really successful programs,” the LEC notes.

The OMNIway is speaking with a variety of caregivers who support residents who have dementia about effective strategies and activities.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

“Stigma is one of the biggest barriers for people with dementia to live fully with dignity and respect,” an Alzheimer Society Canada press release states.

“That’s why we’re excited to kick off the second year of our awareness campaign – Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand – to spark conversations and encourage Canadians to see dementia differently.”

At Rosebridge Manor, pampering and conversation are offered each Monday night. “Everybody seems to really enjoy that,” Kathy says.

Life enrichment staff members gather supplies for facials, manicures, foot soaks and gentle hand and shoulder massages. Women especially like the manicures although men are beginning to request them too. Kathy says the male residents seem to appreciate the individualized attention.

“It gives them one-to-one time along with a little extra care on top of their regular care.”

For many years, Rosebridge Manor has been accustomed to having a high population of its residents diagnosed with dementia.

“Most of the residents we are working with require our help, invitations, reminders and guidance to activities so we try to make it work for whatever level they are at,” Kathy notes.

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