Coping with Dementia

Memories…each and every day we are making new ones, but there is something especially heartwarming about revisiting those from long ago. For seniors who are coping with dementia or Alzheimer’s and a diminishing ability to retain short-term memories, memories from years past are all the more cherished.

In fact, reminiscence therapy is becoming increasingly popular for those caring for a person with dementia. The positive aspects are wonderful, including an enhanced connection and feeling of value and self-worth, and a lift in confidence and joy. It is also an excellent way to manage stress and the difficulties inherent with day-to-day life with Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep in mind that reminiscing and remembering have distinct differences. Whereas asking someone if they recall a particular place, person, or event can cause unfavorable thoughts and feelings if the individual cannot recollect the memory, reminiscing shifts the focus towards the loved one with dementia, encouraging her or him to steer the conversation.

For example, sit with the individual and begin looking through a favorite photo album, and determine which pictures strike recognition and spark a spontaneous conversation. And, realize that some memories might be distressing, in which case you will want to provide kind, supportive listening, or to carefully redirect the person to a more pleasant memory.

Listed 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 people with dementia is simply incredible, as the area of the brain in control of musical memories often remains intact long after other cognitive abilities have been compromised. Try listening to favorite music from the past, singing along, or joining in with simple instruments.
  • Scents/Tastes. Our senses of smell and taste are usually also effective techniques to tap into past memories. Assemble scent jars, containing smells that may be recognizable for the older adult, such as pinecones and pine needles if he or she lived in a wooded area while growing up, and try to recreate preferred snacks that the senior enjoyed as a child.
  • Touch. There are various ways to engage the individual with tactile activities to stimulate memories. Much loved previous activities such as knitting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools could be modified according to the older adult’s particular ability and interest levels. Even simply having the opportunity to hold a skein of yarn and knitting needles, or to place hands in a tub of cool, damp topsoil can bring to mind pleasant memories.

At-Home Care Company provides top-rated dementia care in Des Moines, IA and the surrounding areas. Our team of experts is 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 single day. Call us today at (515) 292-2650 for a free-of-charge in-home assessment, during which we get acquainted with your loved one as well as the challenges being faced, and also to let you know how we can help.