Aging is never easy, and it comes with many challenges ranging from mobility changes to complications from serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s. At Tribute, we strive to provide the best care and advanced programs in senior living.
Our brain intervention program, or as we call it, “Brain Neurobics,” was designed to exercise the brain muscle. This year we are adding more programs to the neurobics program, one of which is a sensory training program. Studies show that sensory stimulation can improve memory and other cognitive functions. Since there is no definitive answer to which brain training activities actually work or if everyone needs the same type of training, we will be utilizing multiple programs to find the right fit for each of our community members. Before we get into more details about the program, let’s take a look at the most complicated organ in our body’s works, the Brain.
How The Brain Works
The brain is the most critical organ in our body as it controls all the activities that we undertake both consciously and unconsciously. The brain works by relaying chemicals and electrical signals throughout the body. Those signals control different processes, and the brain interprets them all, such as when you feel pain or are tired. Here are the seven main parts of the brain and the stimuli they are responsible for.
Frontal lobe: Smell, speech, concentration, planning, problem-solving, and motor control
Temporal lobe: Hearing and facial recognition
Parietal lobe: Touch and pressure, taste, and body awareness
Occipital lobe: Vision
In conjunction with the spinal code, all these parts form the central nervous system receiving and sending sensory information to the peripheral nervous system.
Overview Of The Nervous System
The nervous system is divided into the central and peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system comprises the brain and the spinal code, which have a central function in managing all the body’s activities, including touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. It does this by relay neurons, which are found between sensory input and motor output found in the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is comprised of spinal, cranial, and peripheral nerves, and it contains motor and sensory neurons that coordinate with the central nervous system.
Now You Know How the Brain Works, But How Does It Communicate With The Body?
The body’s communication to the brain begins with the cells responding to physical stimuli then sending signals using a maze of brain circuits. The process is super fast and dynamic. It’s important to highlight that the brain is not just a receiving station for sensory signals. Whatever we hear, see, taste, smell, or feel is constantly shaped by our memories, emotions, beliefs, and mood as our brain sends the impulses back out, telling us how to respond to stimuli.
Can The Brain Change?
Yes, and it is one of the most remarkable aspects of this fascinating organ! The ability of the brain to adapt and change is known as Neuroplasticity. The brain can reorganize pathways to create new neural connections and constantly build new neurons. There are two types of Neuroplasticity:
Structural Plasticity: This type focuses on the brain’s ability to adapt as you learn new things. This explains how people who suffer from a stroke or traumatic brain injuries can learn or re-learn skills, such as walking, talking, eating, and more.
In simple terms, brain plasticity refers to its ability to change or adapt, and it helps individuals to adapt to circumstances. It likely comes as no surprise that Neuroplasticity is significantly low for individuals with Alzheimer’s than individuals who have good health and are of similar age. This further highlights the importance of our brain fitness for seniors or those a
How The Brain Processes The Sensory System
We’ve all heard of the five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, but did you know there are up to 33 human senses? Other senses include hunger, humor, danger, empathy, and time. All of these senses work to help us perceive our environment. Our organs work by sensing states in our environment and relay the change to the brain. For instance, the sense of touch involves the body perceiving pressure, temperature, stretching, and pain. Somatosensory or touch perception is perceived by activating neural receptors on the skin.
Our Person-Based Approach To Brain Training
The brain training by Tribute is designed to be individual-based, taking the shape of principles from the Montessori approach. The Montessori approach focuses mainly on re-discovering and supporting the affected individual’s skills, abilities, and interests. For instance, for elderly individuals, the caregivers will establish what the person can do and then structure activities accordingly. This approach helps to avoid frustration and enhance patient-centeredness. Because there is no definitive answer to which brain training actually works or if everyone needs the same type of training, we will be utilizing multiple programs to find the right fit for each of our residents.
Tribute’s Sensory Program
Tribute will be rolling out a new sensory program that will feature smell therapy (or aromatherapy) with scents such as lavender, rosemary, lemon, citrus, and other essential oils. Smell simulation has been proven to aid in improving memories for those with Alzheimer’s, as smells have been known to trigger memories and emotions. This can be explained by the brain’s ability to recognize scents and odors in the brain’s smell center, also known as the Olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, which aid in triggering memories and emotions. To learn more about the types of sensory training we will be doing, be sure to continue following our newsletters!
Reach Out To Tribute For More Information Or To Join Our Caregiver Support Group
Our entire approach to senior living and memory care here at Tribute is driven by science, research, compassion, and therapeutic amenities to provide your loved ones with the best care possible. We will introduce our new programs slowly and monitor their effectiveness. Should you have any questions regarding our brain neurobics program, please do not hesitate to contact us. And as always, if you would like to learn more or share experiences with other caregivers, you are invited to join our support group. We meet on the last Thursday of each month and are always happy to welcome new members to our group!