Memories…each and every day we’re making new ones, but there is something really heartwarming about revisiting those from a long time ago. And for older adults with Alzheimer’s or other kind of dementia, with a diminishing capability to hold short-term memories, those from many years’ past are all the more important.
In fact, reminiscence therapy is becoming more and more popular as a memory care strategy. The advantages are amazing, including an enhanced connection and sense of value and self-worth, and a lift in confidence and joy. It’s also an excellent way to tackle stress and the struggles inherent with day-to-day life with Alzheimer’s disease.
Bear in mind that reminiscing and remembering have specific differences. While asking someone if they remember a particular place, person, or event may cause unfavorable feelings if the individual cannot recall the memory, reminiscing moves the main focus to the person with Alzheimer’s disease, allowing him or her to direct the conversation.
For instance, sit with the individual and begin looking through a favorite scrapbook, and see which photographs strike recognition and trigger a spontaneous conversation. And, realize that some memories are likely to be upsetting, in which case you will want to offer kind, supportive listening, or to carefully redirect the senior to a more pleasant memory.
Here are three additional reminiscing activities; try these out to see which are best received by your senior loved one:
- Music. The connection to music for anyone with dementia is astounding, as the part of the brain in control of musical memories often remains 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 usually effective techniques to tap into past memories. Assemble scent jars that contain smells that may be recognizable to the older adult, such as pinecones and pine needles if he or she lived in a wooded area while growing up, and try to replicate favorite snacks that your loved one enjoyed as a young child.
- Touch. There are also various approaches to engage the senior with tactile experiences to stimulate memories. Best-loved activities from the past, such as knitting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools, can be modified in line with the senior’s specific ability and interest levels. Even just getting the opportunity to hold a ball of yarn and knitting needles, or to place hands in a tub of cool, damp topsoil can evoke pleasant memories.
Enhanced Home Care’s professional dementia care and in home care in Overland Park, KS has been trusted by families since 2009. Our 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 every day. Contact us at 913-327-0000 for a free-of-charge in-home assessment, during which we get to know your loved one along with the challenges being faced, and let you know how we can help.