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FH&R gets grant for dementia programs

A new case of dementia is diagnosed every four seconds and the number of cases is expected to continue to grow.

To help combat dementia, Florala Health and Rehab was recently awarded a rollout grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sara Goolsby of FHR said that 11 other nursing homes in the state were selected for the grant, and they are the only one in the county.

“The program involves taking people with dementia and reintroducing them to the music they loved through iPods,” she said.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, when used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.

Because people associate music with important life events and emotions, hearing the tune can create a connection that evokes a memory of it.

In addition, they are also implementing art.

Art has proven to help people with dementia in a variety of ways including improving mood, reducing anxiety and depression, deepening the connection with others, and if they are lucky, it helps boost cognition.

Goolsby said that nine staff members from Florala Health and Rehab traveled to Montgomery to get specialized training for the new programs.

“They are so enthused,” she said. “Several of the employees are not salaried and went on their Saturday off to get this training. I’m really proud of our staff.”

Goolsby said the results from the programs are impressive.

“Patients with dementia live in their our closed world,” she said. “These techniques have been used to open their minds. There is still something there.”

Goolsby said they will kick off the utilization of the new programs next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to be selected to do this,” she said.