Empowered and Engaged Resident

Memory Care Activities

Our Alzheimer’s and dementia nursing home in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois offers specialized day-to-day care for residents with memory issues. To us, “care” means helping your loved one lead his or her best possible life. Our specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s programs have been carefully designed to follow the healthy brain lifestyle model, integrating mental and physical activities and opportunities for socialization.

Your loved one is encouraged to participate in a wide range of complimentary memory care activities that include, but are not limited to:

Green Thumb Program

Horticultural therapy is the engagement of a person in gardening-related activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific treatment goals as defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association.

Our Green Thumb Program, led by an experienced master gardener, engages residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia in gardening activities like planting and flower arranging to help reduce stress, gently exercise aging joints, and stimulate memory.

Our Green Thumb Program includes memory care activities that positively impact memory, task initiation, detail orientation, social growth and the recognition of hopeful and nurturing feelings when used as a component of cognitive therapy.

Our Alzheimer’s facility features an expansive Innerwalk™ courtyard that boasts specialized gardens and planter boxes allowing residents to engage their senses.


Gardening offers relief from physical and cognitive limitations and has helped our residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia learn new skills as well as regain those lost.

Our 18,000 square foot InnerWalk™ courtyard at our memory care nursing home offers a plethora of opportunities for growth with its numerous specialty gardens, equipment and tool-filled garden sheds, and raised planting beds to promote involvement at all levels of functioning.

Yoga Therapy and Sensory Meditation

Yoga and directed movement decreases anxiety and stress with residents that have Alzheimer’s and dementia. The various movements and exercises in this memory care activity improve ease of daily activities, balance and posture and increases mobility and bone density.

Drama and Play Therapy

Active and experiential drama therapy provides the contexts for participants to share their stories, set goals, solve problems and express feelings.

Drama and play therapy effectively helps your loved one explore his or her unresolved or difficult-to-access feelings while enhancing their interpersonal relationship skills.

Positively proven to impact behaviors, emotional and physical integration and personal growth, this memory care activity can be an effective, fun and non-threatening way to explore feelings, anxiety and manage complex behaviors.

Essence Program

Aromatherapy is defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. ( What is Aroma Therapy)

Our Essence program uses essential oils as well as herbs and flowers from our numerous gardens to aid in relaxation, meditation, and massage. Aromatherapy offers benefits such as circulation improvement, immune system stimulation, pain relief, and the release of endorphins to encourage a feeling of well-being and confidence.


As published on selfgrowth.com nerve cells relay aroma molecule information to the brain’s limbic system.  The limbic system is a group of deep brain structures that are involved in the sense of smell.  Here, odors can trigger memories and influence emotions and behavior.

Aromatherapy has helped prompt positive memories and pleasant emotions in our residents.

Light Therapy Program

Light therapy is a method to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as well as other conditions such as dementia with the use of artificial light.  (Light Therapy)

An individual receiving treatment sits near a device called a light therapy box, which gives off a bright light mimicking natural outdoor light.  This combined with other types of treatment has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, increase levels of energy, and help regulate sleep cycles.  Sleep disturbances, common in those with Alzheimer’s, can lead to increased agitation in the late afternoon and early evening called sundowning.

Terra Vista maintains its own light therapy machine and allows residents to participate in this memory care activity in the dedicated Sundowning room on the 2nd floor. Further, the light therapy apparatus is mobile, allowing us to personalize its use anywhere a resident my wish.


According to an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, sleep and wake patterns are directly affected by the body’s circadian rhythms.  With appropriate timing, circadian stimulation in those with Alzheimer’s can help reduce some of the symptoms of cognitive impairment and improve sleep cycles.  This therapy helps allow individuals to remain independent for a longer period promoting a better quality of life while living with dementia.  Light Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia: Past, Present, and Future

Masterpiece Program

Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, and achieve insight as described by the American Art Therapy Association .( What is Art Therapy)

Our Masterpiece Program, led by a licensed art therapist, harnesses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our residents.

Our specialty creative arts room offers residents a safe space to explore their memory and imagination through artistic expression.

Terra Vista’s Masterpiece Program offers a blank canvas for self-expression of our residents fostering increased self-awareness and personal achievement. Residents can participate in a wide range of art including painting, (mixed media, acrylic, watercolor, oils) drawing (charcoal), and, sculpture.

Using the most modern of building materials, we have treated an entire wall with white erasable material to be used for artistic expression of our residents, for the “doodle of the day” and/or any other self-initiated expressions of creativity.

Through our art therapy program, residents with dementia have experienced rewarding opportunity to showcase their artwork around our campus and in our annual art auctions from which proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s research.

Visit our community to view our inspiring collection of original resident artwork created by those living with memory loss.


Leverages the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance your loved one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Aids your loved one in identifying and resolving conflicts and problems, developing interpersonal skills, managing behaviors, reducing stress, increasing self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieving insight.

Helps treat anxiety, depression and other problems while relieving social and emotional difficulties related to your loved one’s cognitive deficiencies.

Harmony Program

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional as defined by the American Music Therapy Association. Music Therapy

Our Harmony Program, led by a licensed music therapist, utilizes music improvisation, receptive music listening, lyric discussion, and music performance to promote emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills of our residents.

Different forms of music and music therapy activities are beneficial to elderly patients.

Music therapy for stress can dispel anxiety, tension and fear. Music therapy for depression can alleviate a sense of loneliness and isolation especially in group sing-alongs or musical participation activities.

Since music has nonverbal qualities, Residents, even those with limited verbal communication, often express episodes/periods of high creativity, awareness, expression, and communication during our musical jam sessions.

During these jam sessions, musical instruments including triangles, xylophones, keyboards, bongos, bells, tambourine, sand blocks, egg shakers are available for the seniors to play themselves and make their own music, to accompany pre-recorded music or join in a live performance.

The Vista Bells are a group of residents who entertain us with their ringing bell performances of recognizable tunes for everyone to enjoy and sing along.


From sing-alongs, to choir groups, to individual and group performances, Harmony has helped our residents better maintain functioning levels as well as improve quality of life.

Harmony uses improvisation, receptive listening, song writing, lyric discussion, imagery and performance to assess your loved one’s emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills.

We reunite our residents with their musical talents and allow for creative expression, increased self-esteem, positively impacting your family member’s level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning

Brain Athletics

Keeping the brain active is key to living a brain healthy lifestyle. Research has found that regular mental stimulation helps to improve and prolong healthy brain performance and may even slow down the progression of dementia.

Results from a study documented in Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers, suggest that persons with mild cognitive impairment can improve their performance on episodic memory, memory of autobiographical events, when provided with cognitive training.

Our Brain Athletics program, under the guidance of our licensed clinical social worker and/or psychologist, helps residents exercise crucial brain skills such as memory, concentration, problem-solving, processing speed, language, and visual-spatial recognition are targeted to promote independence and enhance abilities of our residents.

In keeping with Terra Vista’s drive/focus to improve care and outcomes through the introduction on novel technologies, Terra Vista utilizes the latest technology platforms, apps, and devices including ipads/tablets, iphones/smart devices and interactive TV.

With its forward thinking integration of technology, Terra Vista provides first in class care for our residents mind, body and spirit.

All activities are designed to stimulate mental agility, focus, memory and verbal skill.

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