Memories…each and every day we are creating new ones, but there is something particularly heartwarming about revisiting those from long ago. For older adults with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, with a decreasing ability to hold short-term memories, those from many years’ past are all the more important.
In fact, memory therapy for dementia patients that relies on reminiscing is becoming increasingly popular. The advantages are wonderful, most notably an enhanced connection and sense of value and self-worth, and an improvement in confidence and joy. It is also a great way to overcome stress from the challenges inherent with day-to-day life with Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep in mind that reminiscing and remembering have specific differences. Whereas asking a person if he or she recalls a particular place, person, or event may result in unfavorable thoughts and feelings if the individual can’t recollect the memory, reminiscing adjusts the focus to the loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, allowing her or him to lead the conversation.
For instance, sit with the individual and begin browsing through a favorite photo album, and see which images strike recognition and trigger a spontaneous conversation. And, realize that some memories may be distressing, in which case you will want to offer kind, supportive listening, or very carefully redirect the individual to a more pleasant memory.
Listed here are three additional reminiscing activities; try these out to determine which are best received by the senior:
- Music. The connection to music for anyone with dementia is just incredible, as the part of the brain in control of musical memories often continues to be intact long after other cognitive abilities have been compromised. Try listening to favorite songs from the past, singing along, or joining in with simple instruments.
- Scents/Tastes. Our senses of smell and taste are also effective techniques to draw upon past memories. Assemble scent jars, containing smells that might be familiar for the senior, such as pinecones and pine needles if he or she lived in a wooded area while growing up, and attempt to recreate favorite snacks that your loved one enjoyed as a kid.
- Touch. There are also various approaches to engage a senior loved one with tactile experiences to spark memories. Much-loved previous activities, such as crocheting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools, can be modified in line with the senior’s specific ability and interest levels. Even simply having the chance to hold a skein of yarn and knitting needles, or to place hands in a tub of cool, damp topsoil can evoke pleasant memories.
Grace Home Care’s top-rated Topeka dementia care specialists are highly skilled in meeting seniors with dementia where they are, and helping ensure they reach their fullest possible potential, independence, and enjoyment in life each and every day. Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 for a complimentary in-home assessment, during which we become familiar with your loved one along with the challenges being faced, and let you know more about how we can help.