Each nursing home resident has a right to be heard and understood.
However, communication is often difficult because many resident have physical or mental disabilities that limit their ability to speak.
Marshall Manor Nursing Home in Guntersville developed an activity that helps people with Alzheimer’s and dementia express themselves. The program is called Memory Lane because it stimulates memories and life experiences to create feelings of enjoyment.
Memory Lane takes place twice a week in the nursing home’s dining room. Several activity stations are set up and each centers on a particular theme. Old and familiar songs softly play in the background while residents view pictures of babies or pets, sand blocks of wood or play with costume jewelry. To limit distractions for the residents, only one staff member is in the room during Memory Lane.
“Each activity serves a different purpose such as feeling useful, bringing about excitement and creating happiness,” Marshall Manor Administrator Pam Vogt said.
The results of Memory Lane have been nothing short of remarkable.
“We have one resident who is paranoid and sits at the nurses’ station all day,” Vogt explained. “We brought her in Memory Lane and she began to sing. Other employees said they could never keep her focused on an activity more than five minutes and she stayed in there and sang with me for two hours. One man sat at a table sanding blocks and you could see the look of determination on his face because he feels useful.”
Memory Lane is supplemented with sensitivity training to help staff members better understand the challenges people with Alzheimer’s and dementia face each day. An example of the training is staff members wearing goggles covered in Vaseline to simulate impaired vision. It is part of the skilled nursing care center’s drive to create a communication culture.
Special Inspiration for Memory Lane