Most caregivers in senior living communities serving residents with dementia are
convinced their programs and practices benefit these seniors. But evidence, other than
anecdotal, is hard to come by; there is little research on the effectiveness of dementia care
practices. But LifeShare Technologies, a Senior Housing Forum partner, has sought out
and compiled studies that validates and supports the effectiveness of some of its primary
Using LifeShare Technologies for Dementia Care
LifeShare adds communications capabilities, activity programming, internet connectivity, and digital infrastructure to ordinary TVs. It consists of a compact set top box loaded with sophisticated software that allows users to click a remote control to easily share emails, photos, and videos with family and friends, as well as enjoy engagement programming such as music, games, news, and faith-based presentations.
LifeShare also offers a simplified memory care version that can be used as a therapeutic
tool by staff to promote greater resident engagement and provide cognitive support. It
also increases opportunities for families to interact with their loved ones — in person or
The Research
The following quotes fall into four research categories known to have an impact on
dementia care and are a central part of LifeShare Technology’s resident activity
– In populations with Alzheimer’s disease, and other mild cognitive impairments, the
picture superiority effect remains apparent.

[Note: The picture superiority effect is that
we remember pictures better than words.] – “Preserved frontal memorial processing for
pictures in patients with mild cognitive impairment,” Neuropsychologia, 2009
– Reminiscence intervention is effective for increasing self-esteem and decreasing
behavioral disturbances in individuals with dementia . . . Eighty percent of the subjects
(12 out of 15) showed more attention to their personalized reminiscence photo video than to the other two types of TV shows, thus suggesting the effectiveness of personalized
reminiscence photo videos for reminiscence intervention.
– “Effectiveness of personalized reminiscence photo videos for individuals with
dementia”, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, August 2009
– Reminiscence enabled staff to see and know the person beneath the dementia. It acted
as . . . a key revealing the person to staff, enabling them to engage with the person with
dementia in a different way. Knowing the person enabled staff to understand (through the lens of the person’s past) and sometimes to accommodate the person’s current behavior.
– “Seeing me through my memories”: a grounded theory study on using reminiscence with people with dementia living in long-term care, Journal of Clinical Nursing, December 2014
– . . . Music is unique in its powerful ability to elicit both memories and emotions. This
can provide an important link to individual’s past and a means of nonverbal
communication with carers, which make it an ideal stimulus for persons with
dementia. – “Music and dementia,” Progress in Brain Research, January 2015
Cognitive Exercises/Games
– There was consistent evidence from multiple trials that cognitive stimulation programs
benefit cognition in people with mild to moderate dementia over and above any
medication effects. – Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, Bangor University,
Bangor, UK – February 2012
Faith Programming
– Spirituality and religion appear to slow cognitive decline, and help people use coping
strategies to deal with their disease and have a better quality of life. – “Spirituality and
religion in older adults with dementia: a systematic review,” International
Pyschogeriatrics epub, August 2014.
– In a survey of 2000 physicians, 56% believed that religion and spirituality have much
or very much influence on health . . . Respondents suggested that religion and spirituality
help patients cope, give them a positive state of mind, or provide emotional and practical
support via the religious community. Research indicates that roughly 80% of medical
schools now offer spiritual care courses or integrate spirituality into their curricula.
– “Should Doctors Be Involved in a Patient’s Spiritual Care”, By Shelly Reese,
Medlink/Web MD, 2011
Therapeutic Music
– Music-based activities can represent a valid and without side effects intervention for
reducing psychological and behavioral disturbances related to neurological disorders
and also for promoting the functional recovery. Specifically, the most significant results
of the music interventions on the psychological side can be identified in the aspects more
closely related to mood, especially in the reduction of the depressive and anxiety’s
component, and in the improvement of the emotional expression, communication and
interpersonal skills, self-esteem and quality of life.
– “Effects of music and music therapy on mood in neurological patients”, a review of 25
research programs, World Journal of Psychiatry, March 22, 2015
– Music as therapy is not just for your loved one. We know that caregivers encounter
increased stress over caring for a loved one . . . Studies show that listening to music can
lead to increased secretion levels of melatonin, a hormone associated with mood
regulation, lower aggression, reduced depression and enhanced sleep Using music to
cope with these common caregiver complaints can be a welcome relief to caregiver burnout.
Some benefits for staff include expanded resources for activity content, opportunities
for reminiscing, alternative tool for treatment.
– “Caregivers Take Note – Music as Therapy”, | blog, 2012

Pam McDonald is a business affiliate of LifeShare.