People living with dementia find it difficult to recall memories, especially as the dementia journey progresses. There are many different activities which can help to spark memories, which in turn can help to boost mood and improve well-being.
Here are five super activities, which when applied well, may help to bring back memories in those living with dementia.
Senses go a long way in creating memories. The taste of a favorite meal, the smell of a familiar perfume or the sound of a familiar song can bring memories flooding back. Creating a Sensory box filled with everyday objects to kindle those memories can provide a variety of sensory experiences for someone living with dementia and help assist in providing greater communication and reminiscence.
Objects such as a loved one’s perfume, family photographs, a CD of a favorite song can all be stored in the box and revisited time and again. It’s ideal to ask gentle questions surrounding each item to help encourage reminiscence. There are many other suitable home care activities which can help encourage reminiscence using the senses. If they are related to the senses, your imagination is the limit!
The Silver Screen
Memories of the past can be brought to life by watching a well-known film. Whether your loved one watches it with a small group or as part of a social activity which involves a larger group, films have shown to help spark memories and encourage socialization.
When the person with dementia engages in the storytelling of memories surrounding that time, it can be highly beneficial, for reminiscence and in reducing loneliness and improving mood.
Photos are magical when it comes to memories. Meaningful photographs from a person’s life can be utilized and highly beneficial as part of reminiscence focused activities. Choose images including the person living with dementia’s family, favorite places or even cut out photos from magazines which may include familiar things.
Once you have a set of familiar images for the person to look through, sit down in a comfortable environment, without distraction or loud noises and let them look through each image in their own time. It is helpful to initiate conversations relating to each photo by asking gentle questions.
Our senses provide us with good memory of taste. A familiar or favorite meal can spark memories surrounding a particular time. Additionally, the location a person had the meal could also bring back memories of home life and times surrounded by family.
The cooking process itself can also bring back memories. Spending some time in the kitchen could remind them of times cooking in the past.
A very powerful way to bring back memories of people living with dementia is visiting certain locations to spark memories of times spent in the past. For example, visiting a childhood home, parks they used to play in during childhood or performing an activity familiar to their lives will help reminiscence.
These are only a few of the many different activities which can spark memories for someone living with dementia. Each of these activities also provides numerous other benefits, including encouraging socialization and in turn reducing loneliness, boosting mood and improving well being. So, spend some time reminiscing with your loved ones with dementia. It’ll make you both feel better!