Singing the Song of Healingclose
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
But, unfortunately, today 5.4 million Americans live with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and more than half the residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have some level dementia. A recent report even states that Alzheimer’s is the fastest-growing threat to Americans' health.
To fight the terrible effects of this cureless disease Randy Griffin, a Dementia Care Specialist from TransCon Family of Homes, has developed one of the most innovative, unique and natural Alzheimer’s programs by harnessing the songs of birds.
Partnering with Toyota’s TogetherGreen program and Ken Elkins of the National Audubon Society he was able to develop a program called “Bird Tales.”
The program creates an ecosystem for a variety of birds to live, and sing, around nursing and assisted living homes in suburban and urban environments.
From cardinals to blue jays the program uses multisensory stimulation and the natural outdoor world of birds to help people living with dementia interact with their environment and share a meaningful experience with others.
“We saw profound effects when we implemented the Bird Tales program,” says TransCon’s Vice President Mario Sinicariello. “Residents were responsive and excited in ways staff had never seen before. I applaud Toyota for getting engaged in something different than automobiles.”
Ken works with facility staff around the country to improve the quality of bird habitat at each facility, incorporating practices like organic lawn care, landscaping with native species and setting up bird feeding stations.
Additionally, Randy and Ken have developed a training video and workbook to make this program easy to replicate and implement at other dementia care and assisted living centers throughout Audubon's national network.
As medicine continues to push forward searching for a cure for these terrible diseases, it’s good to know that sometimes Mother Nature knows best – singing the song of hope.