Memories…every single day we’re creating new ones, but there is something particularly heartwarming about revisiting those from a long time ago. For seniors with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, with a reduced capacity to retain short-term memories, memories from many years’ past are all the more important.
In fact, reminiscence memory therapy is becoming increasingly popular for people taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. The positive aspects are incredible, including an enhanced connection and sense of value and self-worth, and a boost in confidence and joy. It is also a great way to overcome stress and the challenges inherent with day-to-day life with dementia.
Bear in mind that reminiscing and remembering have specific differences. Whereas asking a person if they remember a certain place, person, or event may result in negative feelings if that individual can’t recollect the memory, reminiscing shifts the focus towards the person with dementia, making it possible for her or him to steer the conversation.
For instance, sit with the senior and start browsing through a favorite photo album, and see which photographs strike recognition and spark a spontaneous conversation. And, realize that some memories might be distressing, in which case you may choose to offer kind, supportive listening, or to carefully redirect the senior to a more pleasant memory.
Here are three additional reminiscing activities; experiment to see which are best received by your loved one:
- Music. The connection to music for anyone with dementia is impressive, as the section 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 likewise effective methods to draw upon previous memories. Assemble scent jars, containing smells that may be familiar for the senior, such as pinecones and pine needles if she or he lived in a wooded area while growing up, and try to recreate preferred snacks that your loved one liked as a young child.
- Touch. There are many methods to engage a senior loved one with tactile experiences to stimulate memories. Favorite past activities such as crocheting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools may be modified in line with the senior’s specific ability and interest levels. Even just having the chance to hold a ball of yarn and knitting needles, or even to place hands in a tub of cool, damp topsoil can evoke pleasant memories.
Compassionate Nursing Services’ experienced dementia care specialists are highly skilled in meeting seniors with Alzheimer’s where they are, and helping ensure they reach their fullest possible potential, independence, and enjoyment in life each and every day. Call us at 314-432-4312 for a free in-home assessment, during which we get to know your loved one as well as the challenges being faced, and also to let you know how we can help. Reach out today and learn more about our St. Louis home care!