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Treatments Offered for Geriatric Inpatients

While your loved one is on one of our geriatric units they can expect to receive any number of different therapy techniques to meet their own individual needs and goals.

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Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-Assisted therapy utilizes animals (e.g. dogs) to increase social engagement and communication, decrease psychological feelings of loneliness, boredom, and improve quality of life. Weekly pet visitation sessions that are 30 – 45 minutes in length are offered to patients. Additionally we utilize companion pets that respond to petting, and motion much like a real cat. Animal assisted therapy has resulted in decreased behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, allowing individuals to experience positive interactions and to enhance their psychological wellbeing.



Exercise is any form of physical activity provided to enhance or maintain range of motion, strength and conditioning. Exercise programs are offered to promote physical health and psychological wellbeing of individuals with dementia. A variety of props such as scarves, beach balls, a parachute as well as playing balloon badminton are used to promote physical health and positive enjoyment. Other forms of physical activity, such as daily walks and passive and active-assisted range of motion are incorporated into patients’ daily routines as well.  

Hand / Foot Interventions

Hand Massage
Hand massage is the application of gentle touch onto one’s hands that can have the power to elicit positive responses. Hand massage communicates safety, care, reassurance and makes people feel more trust in caregivers. Even five-minutes of hand massage have been demonstrated to elicit a physiological relaxation response, as well as reduce aggressive behaviours and psychosocial distress of individuals with dementia.

Foot Care
In addition, we have a Registered Foot Care Nurse, that will provide foot care to our clients, once a month. Each treatment is based on the individual’s needs, and Diabetic foot care is also provided, if required. The outcome to this treatment helps promote vascular circulation and helps decrease agitation, and promote a more relaxing/calming effect.


Aromatherapy is the application of pure essential oils e.g. lavender oil, and lemon balm (Melissa) oil to offer a therapeutic effect. Research has shown that aromatherapy intervention offered twice a day has reduced aggression and agitation in individuals with dementia. Knowledgeable staff utilizes an aromatherapy diffuser for the purpose of altering patient’s mood so that individuals can benefit from a calming and relaxing therapeutic outcome.

Music Interventions

A music intervention is any use of music to promote relaxation, increase engagement or socialization, and overall well-being. Music interventions range from groups offered by a Music Therapist to independent listening on iPods or other electronic devices. Beyond the entertainment value, there's growing evidence that listening to personalized music can also help stimulate seemingly lost memories, manage stress, stimulate positive interactions, shift mood, stimulate hunger, facilitate physical activity and coordination, provide socialization and reconnection with others, help manage pain/discomfort and even help maintain some cognitive functioning which all contribute to a person’s quality of life.

Montessori Activities

Montessori activities provide practical opportunities for individuals with dementia to experience and engage in meaningful activities. Individual and group activities are tailored to one’s personal needs and interests. They are also tailored to individual ability levels and progress from simple to complex tasks, with guided repetition to promote engagement. Montessori activities are derived from familiar, everyday tasks and naturalistic environments (e.g. folding laundry, flower arranging, sorting and matching activities). This allows for opportunities to reconnect with positive past events and re-experience positive emotions.

Therapeutic Reminiscence

Therapeutic reminiscence is the process of recalling past experiences to enhance self-understanding, promote communication and positive interaction between individuals. Reminiscence therapy allows individuals to enhance mental health and promote self-esteem. It utilizes a variety of reminisce materials such as pictures, objects, and therapeutic reminiscing games to improve cognitive functions and/or mood. It can be a positive and valuable experience for individuals living with dementia to recollect meaningful past events

Doll Therapy

Doll therapy is an alternative therapy to help patients with dementia to alleviate agitation and psychological distress. It helps to decrease feelings of boredom and isolation and may help individuals’ attachment needs. It allows individuals to experience role purpose, social interaction and promote feelings of wellbeing.

Multisensory Interventions

Sensory Stimulation
Sensory stimulation activities provide opportunities for engagement and to reduce responsive behaviours of individuals with dementia. By utilizing familiar objects and exploring the five senses (e.g. sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch) clinicians can promote positive mood and encourage memories in people with dementia. This can occur in various settings at Ontario Shores, both in a group format and individually, using sensory tools and games, such as sensory bingo, sound bingo, and weighted blankets.

Snoezelen (Sensory Room)
The snoezelen is a multisensory environment which aims for a pleasurable sensory experience to promote relaxation and sense of wellbeing. The room has lights, aromatherapy, sounds, tactile surfaces and objects which individuals can choose to interact with within a controlled sensory stimulating environment. Snoezelen has proven positive effects on individuals with dementia, not only linking with stimulation and relaxation, but also helping them to decrease their responsive behaviours such as wandering, yelling out, agitation, and aggression.

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