The Garden Club
There’s an amusing scene in the movie Hook, the story of Peter Pan, in which Robin Williams’ character searches frantically for his lost marbles. However, this is no laughing matter for anyone experiencing mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, in real life. Feeling that memory is slipping away can be frightening, and it’s common among 15 to 20 percent of people age 65 or older.
The Garden of Palms Garden Club is designed to support residents with MCI. Our special memory care program provides targeted activities and professional on-site staff to assist residents with simple tasks, health maintenance, and tools designed to help memory, coordination and balance. We offer a joyful and stimulating community living environment, which keeps residents engaged and productive, social yet safe.
Some memory care program highlights include:
- Practice keeps us sharp. We provide daily memory enhancement group programs designed to strengthen memory and brain power through targeted exercises and skills. Our trained staff uses fun and entertaining questions and games that invite the brain to respond. Residents work on long- and short-term memory exercises, language, numerical puzzles, reasoning and creative skills. All exercises are oral and while the more reticent are encouraged to respond, no one is ever put on the spot with a direct individual question.
- Yoga has been practiced for centuries for health and fitness. Our weekly, senior friendly classes are low impact, stimulate the central nervous system, and improve gait, balance, coordination and flexibility. Studies show yoga can also improve mood, reduce stress, anxiety, anger, depression and mood disturbance, and increase self-esteem, mental cognition and memory. In short, it’s a wonderful tool for healthy aging.
- Neuroscience research indicates a strong association between regular aerobic exercise and increased brain volume, which correlates to better memory. Likewise, cognitive stimulation goes a long way in maintaining brain activity and slowing cognitive decline. As part of our daily mental exercise program we include such activities as reading a newspaper or book, writing a letter, watching and discussing a documentary film, playing chess or checkers and surfing the Web together.
- In a 2003 study, researchers looked at the effects of 11 different types of physical activity and found that only one of them—dance—lowered participants’ risk of dementia. Dancing involves both mental effort and social interaction, improves mood and certain cognitive skills, reduces stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory and spatial recognition. Dance has even been found to be therapeutic for patients with Parkinson’s disease. But perhaps the most compelling reason to dance is that it’s fun at any age. Our weekly Zumba Gold senior dance classes teach easy-to-follow choreography that focuses on balance, muscular conditioning, range of motion and coordination.
- Pilates offers a way to stay fit and strong without risking injury. It’s low impact and easy on the joints, while also keeping people active. Pilates focuses on building a strong “core,” the deep abdominal muscles, which helps to increase stability and balance. Our weekly program starts by teaching control and stability in a small range of motion, graduating to a larger range of motion as participants gain control and confidence. In addition to building strength and confidence, it’s a great way to reduce the risk of falls, recover symmetrical movement after a stroke or brain damage, or recover from surgical procedures.
- For some experiencing unwelcome physical and mental changes, spirituality takes on renewed significance. We offer weekly nondenominational spiritual services, and our driver is available to take residents to specific weekly services in a preferred house of worship.
Loss of memory may cause some to hide away in their familiar homes, but studies show that living alone or without regular contact and support may aggravate memory issues. Assisted living provides companionship and structure, which helps residents to manage early memory loss and continue to function to their fullest current capacity. Please ask us about our Garden Club program designed specifically to meet the needs of people with MCI who are still able to live on our main campus. We can help them continue to live life to their fullest capacity.