Five Fun Ways to Connect with Someone with Memory Loss
When someone starts losing their memory, it can be hard for their loved ones. Common memories are what bond us together and can be especially important for families and friendships. Knowing that the person you shared those moments with can’t remember them clearly can be upsetting.
However, there are ways of stimulating the brain that may help your loved one recall these special memories.
Photographs are an excellent prompt and can transport a person back to a specific time or place. Sharing pictures of holidays, weddings or other memorable occasions can sometimes trigger memories, encouraging a person with memory loss to remember elements of the day. As well as personal photos, pictures of celebrities they admire or places they wanted to visit can sometimes cause a spark and be a good conversation starter. If your loved one is non-verbal or not wanting to talk, take the lead. Discuss what you can see in the picture using descriptive language as well as sharing other memories linked to the image.
As well as photographs, some people with memory loss respond well to their favorite music. This could be familiar songs such as nursery rhymes, chart hits from their youth or the theme tune to their favorite show. Whether you end up talking about the past or having a singalong, it can be a lovely way to connect with someone who has memory loss.
Humans attach senses to memories, hence why the smell of your mother’s perfume can transport you back to childhood, or a certain laundry powder reminds you of visiting the launderette with your aunt. Flowers, perfumes, cleaning products, foods and other scented items can prompt conversations about the past, as well as giving your loved one an opportunity to voice their opinions – ask if they like the smell, if they can guess what it is or if it reminds them of anything specific.
For people with mild forms of memory loss, brain games can help exercise the grey matter. Quizzes and crosswords are popular ways of encouraging someone to concentrate and can be done together, meaning you can offer as much or as little support as they need. Word games like Scrabble are a good alternative, as are spatial activities such as jigsaws. This is a fabulous, shared activity, working the brain and starting conversations at the same time.
Follow Their Interests
We all respond best when we have an interest in a subject, so use your loved one’s hobbies as a conversation starter. This could mean talking about ballroom dancing, motorsports or their career as a chef.You may have seen this strategy used in specialist residential care, especially if you have been looking for memory care options in Terra Pointe, AZ where patient-centered activities are an important part of the care package. It makes sense that the more knowledge someone has on a subject to start with, the greater the likelihood of them recalling information in that area.
Enjoy the moments of connection, even if they are less frequent than you would wish. Sharing time with someone special can still be magical, even if their memories are hazy.