Discussing Statistical Analysis and Making Friends with the Residents

Natania A -

During this past week, I visited Sunshine Village, the third assisted living facility in the trifecta, for the first time with Dr. L. This environment was one of my favorites, as the facility really did feel like a home rather than a memory care or behavioral unit. With a large grass area in the middle and small cottage style homes lined on either side, the walk to each home was peaceful, and the view was relaxing. Similarly, the staff meetings at Sunshine were more casual, whereas at Paseo and Fairmont, the morning meetings with the director and nurses were directed more professionally in a conference room. I have also observed that the programs at Paseo and Fairmont have more structure and organization to them, which is ultimately a benefit for the residents. However, I am enjoying both experiences, as I am able to see the various ways the psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse practitioners, directors, nurses, med techs, and caregivers collaborate in the workplace to have the best possible outcome for the residents. Starting to gain consents from residents at Sunshine, I am excited to get to know the residents here and begin working with some of them!

In the meantime, I have continued to make progress at Paseo and Fairmont and have even started seeing residents for the second time at Paseo.  Although I was supposed to work with four residents for their second session on Thursday after the three week period, I only administered the second language assessment to two of them, as one was experiencing psychotic episodes and was therefore uncooperative, and the other had recently been placed on hospice care. I will try working with one or both of these residents next week if they are willing and able to participate, and I am confident that extending the time between sessions by one week will not have a significant impact on my results. For the two residents that I did meet with, I was delighted to see that both residents performed better on the first language assessment, when music was a component, by one to two points out of a twelve point scale. Although this data is preliminary and I will need more data collection and analyses before I can draw conclusions on whether or not the differences in scores are statistically significant or due to chance, I am excited to see that both residents so far have performed better when music was involved. 

I am also happy to share that I am now a familiar face to residents at Paseo. After seeing them for multiple weeks, they come to greet me outside the med tech room, give me drawings to keep, and have even started giving me song recommendations. Another thing to note is that unlike residents at Sunshine and Fairmont, in which residents have dementia with behaviors, most of the residents at The Crossings at Paseo have behaviors not related to dementia and are therefore able to remember me. Because they are able to remember recent incidents, the psychologist can shape their behaviors through certain techniques, such as reinforcement, which are harder to implement and may not have as much of an impact in memory care facilities. 

I am excited to continue meeting both new residents and familiar ones, while analyzing my data to detect any trends between the two sessions. Thank you for reading and please feel free to reach out with any questions!

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    Moksha Dalal
    Hi Natania! This research is so interesting! I'm curious to know what type of music you are playing? Are you keeping it within the same genre or mixing it up?
    Hi Natania, I love that you are getting to see the wider range of long term care facilities available. I am interested to hear your opinion on how working with this particular population may pose some difficulties to research. With some participants going into hospice and others facing difficult days, is it difficult to maintain a consistent participant group?
    Thank you Moksha! For the most part, I am playing the residents music from the 60's, including songs by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra, since residents, most of whom are in their 60s and 70s, are familiar with music from that time period. Occasionally, certain younger residents will provide me with song recommendations, so I will play those as well. Recent recommendations have included Justin Timberlake and Biz Markie from a couple of the residents.
    Thank you Ms. Bennett! Although I've been able to consistently work with most of the residents, some of them have posed various challenges, so I'd say there are difficulties maintaining a consistent participant group, but that these challenges can be managed if I have the mindset of adapting to these situations. Getting a large sample size is also difficult due to similar reasons, as one day a resident might provide consent, and then decide the next day that they are no longer interested in participating. However, I have been able to secure a decent patient population because of my adaptability and positive mindset.
    Alana Rothschild
    I love that you are now a familiar face at Paseo! I am certain that you brighten their day each time you visit. Thank you for your details about Sunshine Village. I often worry about the type of facilities that are available and it is comforting to know that such a quaint place exists. Keep up the great work!
    Brittany Holtzman
    Hi Natania! It sounds like you are making a great impression on the patients at the facility! Also, I'm glad you are getting to visit different sites to see how they are run in different ways to best support their particular patients! - Mrs. Holtzman

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