Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Evenings after dinner at English Rose Suites is time given to the Residents so they can relax and unwind.
Progressive muscle relaxation was first introduced to the Activity Calendar when Alex Olson, Activity Coordinator, wanted to add more variation to the Residents evenings, but equally didn’t want something that was too stimulating as an evening activity
Olson had heard of progressive muscle relaxation before but had recently read an article about it being implemented in memory care in Japan. The study showed that progressive muscle relaxation was very beneficial for those with dementia. The study found that it can improve the behavioral and psychological systems of dementia and activities of daily living in group home residents with dementia. Progressive muscle relaxation can also be helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep.
“I am constantly reviewing and searching for the kinds of engagement that have merit and purpose as we schedule the Activity Calendar each month,” said Olson.
Progressive muscle relaxation is very simple. It is a deep relaxation technique that uses the practice of muscle tension and release with deep breathing. This is usually done at the end of the evening prior to bed, the Caregivers will gather the Residents and assist them in to comfortable spot. The Caregivers then read a script, created by Olson to facilitate this activity.
The script has the Residents start with relaxing, deep breaths that encourage the residents to feel the tension from different muscles and release as they exhale. Then they hold their muscle for five seconds and then relax their muscles for 15-20 seconds as they release the tension. The script focusses different muscle groups throughout the body.
“Overall, the Caregivers tell me that in three of the homes, Residents really enjoy it and can see the positive benefits of it. It really helps the Residents, especially those who are very physically active and busy, wind down and relax at the end of the evening. The structure and directions of focusing your muscles and breathing helps direct their energy in a way that helps calm and relax them,” said Olson.
Olson also shared that she is currently evaluating at the other homes how to enhance and support this activity to benefit the Residents.
Olson also recently added meditation to the calendar to help the Residents relax and unwind at the end of the day which has similar benefits.
Both, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation, are just a couple examples of ways to help those with Alzheimer’s or related Dementias unwind at the end of the day.
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