The research speaks for itself — learning new skills and keeping the brain active are among the tools with the best chance of slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Ongoing social connectivity and cognitive exercises are some of the pillars of Nexus at Silverado, a specially designed program that uses clinical findings to help slow the progression of dementia. One of the newest and most recent programs to be put into action is the American Sign Language program at the Silverado Aspen Park memory care community. How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia?
The inspiration for the program came from Silverado Administrator John “Alec” Stephenson, who used the skills he learned from raising a son with a hearing impairment. Originally, he was teaching residents to learn important signs to engage during a power outage. This one-off occurrence was so popular that it evolved into a regular part of the community. Now residents meet to learn sign language weekly.
“Some of the residents are retaining what they’ve learned, but the primary goal is to engage their minds, improve motor skills and enhance quality of life, which is a core philosophy of Silverado,” said Stephenson. “This is the only sign language program of its kind in a memory care community in not only Utah, but most likely the entire country.”
As Stephenson said, retaining and fully reiterating motions isn’t the end goal for these classes. Along with improving motor skills, the act of focusing on communication is key. Whether they fully learn to communicate using ASL or not, caregivers are teaching residents to model behavior (like picking up a spoon or express when they’re hurt). This kinetic and tactile approach may improve communication.
This innovative program even caught the attention of local news media in Salt Lake City, who stopped by to film the class in action and speak to some of the participants!
How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia? How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia? How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia? How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia? How is Sign Language Helping People with Dementia?
Silverado was founded in 1996 with the goal of enriching the lives of those with memory loss by changing how the world cares for people with cognitive decline. Establishing this mindset as the foundation allows Silverado to operate in a way that provides clients, residents, and patients with utmost dignity, respect and quality of life. Silverado has grown to become a nationally recognized provider of home care, memory care assisted living and hospice services. With 54 locations, the company delivers world-class care in seven states- Arizona, California, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Viginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Learn more at silverado.com or call (866) 522-8125.View All Articles