Her face lights up when you walk in the room even though no words leave her lips. His hand grasps yours though no words are spoken and his eyes do not open. What causes this reaction? A fleeting memory, an ingrained interaction or a connection long held by the heart?
According to the HeartMath Institute, the heart possesses the equivalent of its own brain or what they call a heart-brain, which can then communicate with the actual head brain to direct feelings and communication.
In fact, they have found that when a person experiences sincere positive emotions such as caring, compassion, or appreciation the heart will send out positive information throughout the entire body. This upbeat feeling will translate into enhanced communication efforts, even in those in the latest stages of dementia. In addition, it can also increase positive expressions; enhance socialization and daily activities in those in the early- to middle-stages of the disease process.
As Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia progress it is heartbreaking to witness how it steals our loved ones abilities to remember, talk, walk and have basic interactions with others. However, by better understanding the heart brain connection it gives hope that even in the latest stages of the disease the heart can help the body remember those who give it care, compassion and appreciation.
For both family and professional caregivers this information is important, which is why we include it in our MOSAIC by Azura training for all of our Team members. The heart-brain connection shows that we have the ability to continue to reach those with memory loss even in the final stages of the disease process and their lives.
At Azura Assisted Living and Memory Care we are proud that our caregivers communicate and connect through unconditional, personalized love and understanding with our residents. We ask up front in our MOSAIC Quality of Life Profile what our residents LOVE and even include this information on the personalized MOSAIC Resident Welcome Plaque that hangs by the door of their Suite.
You too can find ways to connect with your loved ones heart-brain by giving them a hug, telling them they are handsome or beautiful, bringing them their favorite treat or listening to their favorite song. By utilizing those things that are meaningful to them we further ingrain ourselves in our loved ones heart-brain and will hopefully make connections that will last beyond the disease.