Activities & Engagement
Here are some gift ideas for someone who has dementia, including options for those at the beginning to the end stages of the journey. Great gifts can provide the individual to have more autonomy and independence, or just simple joys and ways to relax. We hope these will be helpful!
Holidays shouldn’t stop just because of a dementia diagnosis! If you’re visiting a loved one with memory loss, the holidays can be poignant, awkward, funny, and everything else. Here are a couple of ideas to help ensure they are also a positive and joy-filled experience!
Reconnections has partnered with local Loudoun County non-profit, By Faith Fund, several times over the past year on donation drives for needs in the community including food, toiletries, holiday items, and school supplies. Most recently participants and their families had the opportunity to participate in a school supply and backpack drive for local students as the school year begins!
Encore Creativity for Older Adults is the nation’s largest choral organization with 42 ensembles in 7 states and the District of Columbia, serving almost 1300 singers. Sentimental Journey Singers, offered at Insight - Fairfax and Insight - Sterling is a FREE program for Insight participants and care partners to participate in. Come sing, laugh, and play with us at Insight!
Those hot summer days can feel longer without activities to keep busy and engaged. If you’re looking to make the most of the remaining summer days in the DC Metro Area, check out this list of local dementia-friendly activities and outings we have put together.
Summer 2023 has been marked by record breaking heat so far. In the midst of the summer season, it is crucial to highlight the significance of staying cool and hydrated, especially for older adults and individuals living with dementia. Learn some important information and tips to help keep older adults and those with dementia cool and comfortable this summer.
The Cadette and Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 53039 in Alexandria, VA recently completed a wonderful service project at the Insight Fairfax day center location. The project involved painting flowerboxes, planting flowers, and cleaning an outdoor sensory space for the participants.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events with Insight! We have many great events scheduled this spring, check out the blog to learn more. We look forward to having you join us for some or all of these events!
One of the top questions we get about our programs at Insight is “what do they do all day?” It’s a natural question, since many of us have images of seniors playing bingo all day in our heads! At Insight Memory Care Center, we work hard to ensure that participants are engaged in a wide variety of activities at all levels of our programs – which is where we depend on our fantastic recreation therapists!
Insight Memory Care Center is excited to begin a virtual reality program – the first of its kind – to boost engagement, mental wellness, and quality of life for senior participants in our adult day health center. Anita Irvin, Executive Director, shares, “We are always looking for innovative ways to engage our participants in our day programs. When we were first looking at the option of virtual reality, our staff was quickly on board when we realized all the possibilities for our participants to reminisce, connect, and engage with each other in new ways."
We all have that “hard to shop for” person in our family. You lean towards buying socks or gloves but choosing the perfect gift can be difficult or even impossible! What makes it even harder? If your loved one also has dementia. Here are some gift ideas for someone who has dementia, including options for those at the beginning to the end stages of the journey. Great gifts can provide the individual to have more autonomy and independence, or just simple joys and ways to relax. We hope these will be helpful!
There’s a dance program for people with Parkinson’s that combines music, seated dance, stretch and movement. It’s called Dance for PD®. However, for all the reasons we can list why dance is beneficial to people living with Parkinson’s, it’s how people feel during the class, and by the end of it, that matters most.
I remember my Dad, Steve, spending hours planning out the garden beds; drawing out plots and deciding how to rotate what was planted each year in order to be sure that the soil was in the best condition for each plant type. When my parents retired and relocated to a new home, having space for a garden was a top of the list item for my Dad. Gardening was a passion of his and he was looking forward to having more time for this now that he was retired. Unfortunately, changes in his attention to detail and gardening talent were one of the first indications that my Dad was experiencing some cognitive changes.
Surely when you think of Insight, the first thing you think of is interactive gaming technology, right? Well, we are excited to add the Obie for Seniors system to our day center that uses a projector and motion sensors to turn walls, floors, and tables into interactive gaming centers!
Seniors planning to age in place should have a plan for money management, home management, healthcare, meals, personal care and transportation. Volunteer transportation programs can be part of a plan to address transportation for non driving seniors as they age.
An initiative that begun in 2019, Dementia Friendly Fairfax brings awareness and support for those living with dementia and their care partners in Fairfax County, Virginia. Today we’re getting to know Allegra Joffe, Caregiver Specialist, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging, and Diane Watson, Mount Vernon Rep on the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging & Long Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC) Member contact person for the Spring Hill Community Village in Lorton, VA. They are two of Dementia Friendly Fairfax’s action team members. Robin McGlothin from Insight Memory Care Center gets the conversation going!
Over 15 years ago, Insight Memory Care Center developed a program designed for couples in the early stage of dementia find new ways to connect with each other, meet other families who are walking a similar path, focus on healthy minds and bodies, and adjust to life with a new diagnosis. The Mind & Body Workshop is often the first program families attend, many still nervous about joining a “memory loss” program. But the camaraderie of the group quickly turns anxieties into anticipation as families look forward to each next session.
With winter weather comes many things – a pretty dusting of snow, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and lots (and lots!) of indoor time. Freezing temperatures can easily make you go stir crazy, especially when trying to also care for and entertain a loved one with dementia. It’s easy to just default to watching TV all day, but by varying the types of activities you engage in, it really can still be the great indoors for everyone!
Many people have been to a café, and most are relatively familiar with the term memory – but have you heard of a memory café? Far from a restaurant that makes you memorize a long list of menu items, memory cafés are primarily social gatherings where individuals with memory impairment and their caregivers can come together in a safe, supportive environment, share conversation over a cup of coffee, or participate in fun, simple activities with the group. It’s an opportunity to meet with others for support, companionship, and fun!
We began to see the changes before we had a grandchild. Those were glorious days of appropriate comments, empathy, and mostly the man we recognized. She came and we reveled in our time together. As she grew things changed subtly but change, they did. In the last six months the granddaughter’s growth in empathy, in expression, has progressed while Gramps’s has regressed. What results is a lot of interpersonal drama—much like two children.
We are excited to announce that our newest program, Insight at Home, is now being offered 5 days a week! Insight at Home is a virtual program that has connected people across states, counties - and living rooms! - to develop meaningful human connection and engagement.
Insight was the place where my brother would go for a fun, entertaining, and engaging day. Right now, of course, he’s spending a lot of time at home. I don’t have a background in recreation or activities or anything like that and I don’t really feel comfortable leading any kind of activities at home. Is there anything else in terms of activities you would suggest?
If there ever was a time that challenged us as humans to embrace social connection, it is the year 2020, and the time spent coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Humans, because of necessity, evolved into social beings. Dependence on and cooperation with each other enhanced our ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances. I think it is safe to say coronavirus has created harsh conditions, to say the least!
It’s our last week of sharing ideas, and we hope we’ve given you a few good things to try and maybe more ideas to bookmark for later! These activities are adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care, and some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here are a few last ideas to try this week!
Social connection is a cornerstone of the programs we offer at Insight. Whether it is plugging those who have dementia into the right recreation program, or covering the much need education topic for a caregiver, our main job here at Insight is to connect. We work to connect people to the right support systems and programs that allow them to live fulfilling, meaningful lives while simultaneously battling a dementia diagnosis. One of our programs that truly connects people is our Memory Café.
As we hit the middle of August and all the heat, Insight is here to help with more things to do at home! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here are a few more ideas to try this week!
As we try to ride out the tropical storm this week, Insight is here to help with more things to do at home! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but here are a few more ideas to try this week!
It’s still hot out there! If you feel like you’re running out of things to do indoors to stay safe, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but here are some more ideas to try this week!
As we’re all trying to stay safe and healthy – and cool from the summer heat! – you’ve probably been spending a lot of time indoors. If you feel like you’re running out of things to do, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here’s a few more ideas to try this week!
As we’re all trying to stay safe and healthy – and cool from the summer heat! – you’ve probably been spending a lot of time indoors. If you feel like you’re running out of things to do, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but if nothing else, here’s to some new things to do this summer!
We are continuing to create community, serving families living with dementia as we all adapt to our new normal. As quickly as COVID-19 has impacted us all, Insight has pivoted to offering almost all programs virtually. Ken Connelly, Insight’s Board Chair shares, “What hasn’t changed in the midst of all of this is our commitment to the mission of providing care, support, and education for those living with memory impairments – the most vulnerable in our community – whether it’s in our center or now virtually at home. I continue to be amazed at the high level of dedication and creativity the Insight staff have.”
The choir was well on their way to preparing another amazing concert, when the world turned upside down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Encore has been committed to continuing to engage all of our singers. We began and continue to produce rehearsal COVIDeos sent out once or twice a week. Some rehearse the repertoire, while other videos work on vocal technique or lead fun sing-a-longs. A few weeks ago, we began virtual rehearsals via the Zoom conference platform!
As the weather warms up everyone is encouraged to get some outdoor exercise, but we know that's not always feasible! Whether your loved one has mobility issues, or you're just trying to avoid all the pollen in the air, here are a few chair exercises that can get your heart rate up in the comfort of your living room!
We’ve long been implementing sensory-based programming into our later-stage programs as a tried and true method of engaging and connecting with participants in a meaningful way. Now we have a gold standard model to help focus our efforts on methods that a growing body of research is showing to have positive effects on those with late-stage dementia, their family members, and even professional caregivers!
Receiving any diagnosis will more than likely create some level of anxiety. However, if that diagnosis is one relating to dementia, then a unique batch of worries arises. Important questions begin to race through the mind, such as, “What’s going to happen to me?” or “Is my independence going to be taken away from me?” Insight Memory Care Center (IMCC) has a variety of programs aimed specifically at helping those with the diagnosis, and/or their loved ones, gain the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the labyrinth of dementia care.
A big part of our job here at Insight is to give someone with a dementia diagnosis a “why,” or as we commonly refer to it, purpose. Merging your loved one’s past interests and current interests and abilities is important to engaging with them. Here are some programs we run at Insight that can be adopted at home.
Activities & Engagement
"I like that IMCC focuses on dementia-related problems and provides a focal point for families to network and socially interact in coping with dementia. It provides a community that helps us in our struggle."