Memories…each and every day we are creating new ones, but there is something really heartwarming about revisiting those from long ago. For a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, with a reduced capability to hold short-term memories, those from many years’ past are all the more cherished which is why reminiscence benefits seniors in such a positive way.
In fact, reminiscence therapy is becoming increasingly popular for individuals taking care of a senior loved one with dementia. The positive aspects are amazing, most notably an enhanced connection and feeling of value and self-worth and a boost in confidence and joy. It’s also an excellent way to tackle stress as well as the difficulties inherent with day-to-day life with Alzheimer’s disease.
Bear in mind that reminiscing and remembering have specific variations. Whereas asking an individual if they remember a particular place, person, or event can result in negative feelings if the individual can’t recollect the memory, reminiscing moves the focus towards the senior with Alzheimer’s disease, encouraging him or her to lead the conversation.
As an example, sit with the older adult and start browsing through an old scrapbook, and see which photographs strike recognition and spark a spontaneous conversation. And, keep in mind that some memories could be distressing, in which case you’ll want to offer kind, supportive listening, or to gently redirect the individual to a more pleasant memory.
The following are three additional reminiscing activities; try these out to determine which are best received by your loved one:
- Music. The connection to music for those with dementia is astounding, as the part of the brain in control of musical memories often continues to be unchanged long after other cognitive abilities have been compromised. Try listening to your favorite music from the past, singing along, or joining in with simple instruments.
- Scents/Tastes. Our senses of smell and taste are usually effective ways to draw upon past memories. Create scent jars, containing smells that might be familiar for the senior, such as pinecones and pine needles if she or he lived in a wooded area while growing up, and attempt to replicate preferred foods that your loved one enjoyed as a young child.
- Touch. There are myriad ways to engage the senior with tactile experiences to spark memories. Much loved past activities such as knitting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools can be modified in line with the older adult’s particular 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.
Absolute Companion Care offers top-rated and knowledgeable dementia care and companion care in Baltimore and the surrounding area. Our team of experts is highly skilled in meeting older adults with Alzheimer’s where they are, and helping ensure they reach their fullest possible potential, independence, and enjoyment in life on a daily basis. Reach out to us at 410-357-9640 for a complimentary in-home assessment, during which we learn more about your loved one as well as the challenges being faced, and to let you know how we can help.