As medical advances allow us to take a deeper look at the brain, we are learning more and more about the mysteries of the human mind and how to better treat memory related illnesses.
Although there are some medications available, there is one treatment becoming increasingly popular that is therapy based and does not use prescription medication. Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy, or BBET for short, concentrates on using the part of the brain unaffected by the illness to engage dementia patients and give them a better quality of life.
In this article, we will explain what it is, how it works, and the benefits that receivers can experience.
What is BBET
Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy (BBET) is a therapy program designed to manage behaviors and promote engagement. This approach is medication free and uses customized therapeutic activities to manage and prevent stress in patients that is caused by boredom and disengagement.
Any facility that utilizes Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy will have an onsite resource center with over 150 tools that are used to create a customized therapy plan. Once a patient is engaged in therapy, they can continue the activities on their own.
How Does Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy Work?
In order to understand how BBET works, we must first understand how the brain works and how dementia affects normal brain functions.
The Brain: The left hemisphere of the brain holds centers in charge of language, analysis and reasoning, sequencing and computation. The right side holds the control centers for emotions, creativity, music and the like. As we age, the two sides of the brain grow together and work with each other. As we exit childhood, the left brain takes off into the world of adulting while the right side that is full of more creative and imaginative things tends to grow more dormant.
If we think of the brain as a city, the left side is a major metropolis with highways and byways and skyscrapers and lots going on all the time. The right side is a small town with country roads and rolling hills.
The Effects of Dementia: As dementia progresses, the bustling highways and roads on the left brain are blocked. All of the sudden, information can’t travel to the areas needed for thought processes. There is a lot more information being blocked in the left brain, simply due to the fact that there are more roads to block. This leaves freer movement of information in the right side, because the road blockers aren’t finding the country roads as easily as the city highways.
How BBET Works: The therapies in BBET concentrate on utilizing the information that is accessible in the right brain to engage dementia patients. It encourages them to focus on right brain activities like emotions and feelings in order to provide peace and ease despite the highway pileup happening on the left side of the brain.
Types of Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy:
There are 4 main types of BBET therapy that could be used, although there are over 100 different ways to use them. Each one is designed to manage negative behaviors and promote engagement.
- Music Therapy: This has proven to be very effective in providing peace and even spurring some long-term memories, particularly when listening to favorite music from their younger years.
- Video Therapy: Screen time can actually be a good thing for those who are suffering with reality. Watching older movies from another era can be comforting and soothing to them.
- Stimulating Therapy: To combat boredom, which often brings depression and anxiety, stimulating therapy like games, puzzles, and other feel sensory activities can be very helpful.
- Memory Prop Therapy: Sometimes just looking at family photos or other memorabilia can be very therapeutic to individuals because it provides them a sense of normalcy and comfort.
Many memory care communities provide BBET to their residents. In any community that utilizes this therapy there is typically a resource center with more than 150 tools available to use anytime. These therapies are all individualized and provide comfort and appropriate cognitive exercise for each participant. These therapies can also be used to enhance family visits and interactions and promote engagement within just a few minutes.
Benefits of BBET
The advantages of the therapy extend beyond the time spent on the activities themselves. Residents are relaxed and content after therapy and they are not only able to but actually more interested in interacting during group activities and family visits. As soon as caregivers see a negative behavior beginning, or a pattern start to develop, they can start therapy before the behavior starts/escalates. This allows residents to concentrate and eat better during meals, and they accept care and direction from caregivers more readily.
Additional benefits also include:
- Reductions in falls triggered primarily by behavioral issues such as aggression, pacing, etc.
- Fewer behavioral episodes
- Improvement in mood and engagement
- Better sleep patterns
- Reduction in both PRN and antipsychotic medications
- Therapies are individualized, providing both comfort and appropriate cognitive exercise
This is music to our ears
There is no doubt that Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy has incredible benefits not only to those suffering from dementia, but has benefits for the caregivers as well. As our loved ones age, the most important thing we can do is spend quality time with them while we still can. Agitation, depression, irritability, and anger from memory-related illnesses can make even a short visit difficult. This approach allows you to access the part of the brain that is still intact, and give your loved ones relief from the side effects of dementia and other memory-related illnesses.
If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other memory-related illnesses and you’re looking for more information, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you provide the best care for your aging loved ones and enjoy the time you have together. Give us a call today.