The Sunrise Reminiscence Program was created because Sunrise recognized a need for a specialized environment and program designed for our residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. These visionary team members designed the Reminiscence Program to provide an environment centered around comfort and security.
The Reminiscence Environment
As you enter, you will most likely be greeted by one or more of the residents, who just seem to have the knack for making visitors feel welcome. Some of the residents actually have naturally assumed the role of “Greeter” or “Ambassador,” and we acknowledge their gift of hospitality, which also serves to reinforce their identity and self-esteem.
The living room is designed to give the residents the feeling of comfort and enjoyment that one feels in their own home. This is a wonderful area for relaxing, sing-a-longs, discussion groups or listening to music. Often, you’ll see residents visiting with their children or grandchildren in this warm and comfortable setting. Most likely, you’ll find two or more residents sitting side-by-side, holding hands or one resting her head on the other’s shoulder. You will immediately sense the spirit of camaraderie and togetherness. Occasionally, you’ll notice that the residents are enjoying a movie or musical on TV. This will be followed by a discussion about the program, which is our way of making a passive activity more engaging and interactive.
Activities can occur in any room of the Reminiscence neighborhood, but in many neighborhoods there is a place where the residents can gather to work on art projects, crafts or puzzles and other creative or cognitive activities. Every activity that we plan is adult-oriented and is focused on the residents experiencing a feeling of success and purpose through engaging in it.
Our country kitchens, where you’ll often smell freshly baking bread or cookies, are designed to look very much like the kitchen in your home. This is a friendly, informal gathering place for morning coffee, discussions, reading the newspaper, or clipping coupons. The residents enjoy working on cooking projects here, and every day they are encouraged to help prepare delicious and nutritious snacks and desserts that can be enjoyed during the social hours.
The dining room is designed to have a comfortable look and feel, and is the hub for the three socially engaging meals each day. Most often, the residents are seated at tables in groupings of four. Sometimes they request family-style dining, which means that up to eight individuals are seated at a larger table and served from bowls and serving platters, just like they were accustomed to at home.
The Snoezelen Room/Club Room
Snoezelen comes from a Dutch word that means “sniff and doze”. This environment includes soft lighting, cozy furniture, soothing music, aroma therapy, visual displays such as lights, images, bubbles, soft fabrics and stuffed animals. This is a great place to spend quality time engaging in sensory experiences with a resident. Sometimes residents spontaneously relax and enjoy the peaceful feeling generated by simply sitting in the room and experiencing the pleasant surroundings. We also have personalized Snoezelen kits that can be brought to the resident’s room or other area of the neighborhood when they are wanted or needed.
This space can also be used for residents to hold club meetings. Some communities have weekly Validation meetings while others have their book clubs, military clubs, teachers groups and much more. Clubs give residents a feeling of being exclusive and special and often give them a sense of meaning and purpose and are a great way to reminiscence about accomplishments in the past thereby reinforcing their identity and improving their self-esteem.
Since the Reminiscence neighborhood is a secured area, it is important that the residents have unobstructed access to an outside area. This freedom gives them a sense of openness and liberty, reinforcing their knowledge that they still have control over themselves and their environment. Our outdoor spaces vary from large, secured patios in Reminiscence neighborhoods on upper floors to large porches, patios or garden spaces with walking paths when located on the ground floor.
We know that children bring a tremendous amount of happiness and vitality to a memory care neighborhood. To promote and encourage intergenerational programs, our communities form partnerships with local schools, day care centers, and with parents who home school their children. Family members often bring their grandchildren in to visit, and team members frequently stop by with their children on their days off. Our Reminiscence residents have a special way of making children feel welcome and appreciated. This creates a win-win situation because just as the residents nurture and teach the children, the children nurture the spirits of the residents in return.
Our Reminiscence neighborhoods all have a dog or cat, which add to the feeling of home. These pets provide our residents with unconditional affection and are often symbols of the pets that they had in the past. Residents are frequently seen caring for, feeding, brushing or walking the dog or holding and petting the cat, which brings them the feeling of the comforts of home.
Browse through our videos to learn more about Memory Care.