That beautiful Barbra Streisand song from the movie The Way We Were has the poignant line “for it’s the laughter that we remember, whenever we remember the way we were.’’ This rings true for most everyone, and it includes those with Alzheimer’s disease.
If you assist with Alzheimer’s care in Toronto, you know how important it is to evoke memories in those who are losing them little by little. Preserving those memories is a valuable tool to improve communication and provide a sense of belonging for our loved ones. In some cases it can help manage their behaviours and improve their sense of well-being.
Start With Memory Triggers
All our senses can open the door to lost and long-forgotten memories, especially for Alzheimer’s patients. Music triggers can bring out lovely memories from your loved one’s youth. Music is also a beneficial way to soothe a difficult senior.
Certain aromas from recipes and dishes can remind your loved one of happy family dinners and times when they were in control. Try cooking an old recipe together and see what memories come up.
Visual cues from old photographs, letters and greeting cards can do the same.
So what are some creative ways to unearth and preserve memories?
Have A Picture Party
Bring out old photo albums and look through them together with your loved one. This could be with your spouse or a parent who needs Alzheimer’s care in Toronto. Let them look through each photo and see if they begin to recognize anyone or the occasion. If not, move on. If so, let them tell you what they remember. Ask unthreatening questions about what they remember, or comment about how they look and what they are wearing to reflect the style of the day. It’s true that laughter IS the best medicine. You may hear them say, “ I actually wore that?” This exercise can bring them back to those days and give them the ability to unlock lost memories.
Create A “New” Old Photo Album
Separate certain photos from the picture party, add them to a new notebook or album—one to a page—and write down the memories they evoked. Your loved one might suddenly remember unknown figures in the photo or identify the occasion vividly. Capture that in a new memory book.
This new book can be looked at again and again, but it will also offer additional information for others in the family and be kept for future generations to enjoy.
Always have a video camera or tape recorder ready when having a memory session. Alzheimer’s patients’ memories can be fleeting, so be ready to capture them when they occur.
Create A Memory Poster
When a loved one passes away, it has become common to display posters filled with old photos of the deceased through the years. A better idea is to do this while your loved one can enjoy them. Pick out the highlights of their life, label them, then display the poster where it can be seen every day.
No books to open or memory boxes to go through—this easily accessible memory trigger will be there each and every day for them to enjoy and take a happy trip down memory lane.
You become the link to their memories as you assist with Alzheimer’s care in Toronto.
If you need assistance with Alzheimer’s care in Toronto, reach out to C-Care Health Services.
Free care service for the first 8 hours on a monthly commitment.