Art Therapy Products Made for Memory Care Communities

Interior design firm studioSIX5 developed two new products to engage with the senses of residents in memory care communities: an LED memory box and an integrated music therapy chair.

LED Electronic Memory Box

When adult children look for communities for their parents suffering from memory loss, quality of care is the first thing they look for, according to interior design firm studioSIX5. Dean Maddalena, president of studioSIX5, believes that quality memory care begins with a stimulating environment, which is why the firm created two new products for memory care housing: an LED electronic memory box and a music therapy chair.

While we have seen a boom in the development of senior living communities, there are often vast differences between the independent living (IL) residences and areas catering to those in need of assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing,” said Maddalena. “We believe that no matter the age or the level of care needed, all seniors are deserving of a quality and inspiring residential experience. Many times providers will cut corners, only including custom artwork or expensive finishes on the IL side. As family members transition from one neighborhood to the next, a drastic change takes place in communities like these. Just because people have dementia does not mean they stop perceiving the environment around them. When we work on a project, we encourage owners/operators to deliver the same interior design in memory care as they do in other parts of the community, with a few adjustments to accommodate the specific needs of the residents and more toward engaging the five senses.”

The memory box personalizes each room so residents can recognize it from the outside. Each  box is posted outside the resident’s room, and caregivers can upload family photos, images of favorite things, holiday images or anything to which they notice the resident has a positive reaction. The bright LED screen is attention-grabbing, so residents are more likely to look at it. In pilot programs in five communities, all residents with the memory boxes outside their rooms had positive reactions.

While the memory box caters to the sense of sight, the music therapy chair caters to residents’ hearing. After learning about the benefits of music therapy for memory, the team at studioSIX5 developed a winged chair with an audio input and output in the armrest. Caregivers can plug in an electronic device and the selected audio will play through headphones. At pilot community The Ridge in Salt Lake City, four of the chairs have been positioned near windows to engage with the surrounding outdoor scenery as well as audio. 

Photo courtesy of studioSIX5