Caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be an emotional and exhausting process.
A typical day is consumed by activities of daily living, medical care, and the everyday struggles associated with memory loss. When lost in the haze of our daily routine, it can be all too easy to miss out on opportunities to spend quality time with each other.
Whether it’s a parent, spouse, or close friend, our relationship with that person will undoubtedly change. However, this doesn’t mean it stops. Although his or her medical care and needs may become our top priority, we still deserve to have a meaningful relationship with our loved one.
Reminiscing can be a fun and therapeutic experience for both of you. It can create an excellent opportunity to take a break from the demanding daily routine.
Take a walk down memory lane with these fun activities that you can do together!
By starting each day with a morning stretch then a trivia or reminiscing session, we empower our loved ones to keep the body and mind active.
This order is important. We can think of stretching as a warm up session for the mind. Our loved ones will begin to focus on following our movements. This time also gives them an opportunity to become acquainted with the other people or noises in the room.
Once you have stretched, you are ready to begin the trivia fun! For this to work as a reminiscing technique, we should use questions and phrases that will be familiar to them.
For instance, some of my favorites are finishing the sentence.
April Showers bring _______.
It’s raining cats and _______.
A penny for your _______.
Wake up on the wrong side of the _______.
Or famous pairs:
Adam and _______.
Fibber McGee and _______.
Fred Astaire and Ginger _______.
Popeye and _______.
Do these sound familiar? They will for our loved ones, too!
It is amazing how quickly we can recall these fun idioms! Now with everything else going on, it may be difficult to come up with these types of quips on the spot.
You can have a little fun and create a trivia book by searching online and copying them down, or you can purchase trivia books like Finishing Lines or Everyday Life Trivia for less than ten dollars apiece. These and other great activity resources are in the Nasco Catalog.
It is not always easy to have a conversation with our loved ones, but this activity is an excellent way to have an engaging and meaningful back-and-forth with them.
Our homes are filled with mementos from different parts of our lives. Some of our memories are like old pictures and letters collecting dust in boxes stuffed in the back of our closets. Caregiving often requires us to be always thinking about the next thing on our to-do lists and leaves little time to revisit and reminisce on all of that fun.
A memory life-board is an excellent excuse to get out those old photos and a great way to spend time on rainy days. This project can also be put down and picked back up at any time to suit your busy schedule.
What you will need a poster board, scissors and glue. You will also require magazines, old photos and general scrapbook supplies.
First, choose a topic. Is there a particular time your loved one remembers or often mentions? Do they talk about their parents or their childhood home? These may be great points of interest for the board.
Next, try to find images that match this time. Finding the right photos isn’t always so easy to do. Old photos have a habit of getting lost, but other photos in magazines can supplement these images. Reminisce Magazine and Good Old Days Magazine are great resources for these type of pictures.
Once the photos are up, write descriptions of each underneath them. And somewhere on the board write out a brief description of the significance of this time is for your loved one. This is an excellent opportunity to engage them in the activity. Try asking questions like the names of their parents or what color their house was as a child.
You can be as creative as you want with this project. And when it is complete, the board makes for a great talking piece with friends and loved ones who come to visit!
As caregivers, you are often the unsung heroes for our aging population and will spend most of your time focusing on the medical care your loved one receives. But you also deserve to be able to spend time with your loved one and to get to know them during this new phase of their lives.
Are you or someone you know taking care of a loved one who has Dementia or Alzheimer’s? What activities do you do to reminisce with your loved ones? Please join the conversation and share your experiences and ideas.