Dementia patients often recall memories of childhood more than any other memory. For some reason their minds seem to remember well only their younger years. The next time you visit with your loved one with Dementia, try a few activities with them:
- “Create a Memory Bag
Fill the bag with items reminiscent of their late teens/early twenties. Scented products work well for this, as scents are strongly tied to memory. Try including soap, perfumes and aftershave, or holiday scents like gingerbread, pine and peppermint.
- Look Through Photo Albums
Photo albums with pictures from their childhood or young adulthood are best for this. Old periodicals are another good option, particularly those that include many photos such as Life or Time magazines.
- Read Out Loud
If your loved one has a favorite book, read it out loud to them and let them hold the book and feel the pages. Encourage them to enjoy the distinctive “old book smell.” Reading aloud works especially well with poetry, as the cadence of the words are familiar and calming.
- Listen to a Playlist of Favorite Music
Download songs or set up radio to stream that features music from their teenage years. Many internet radio stations include everything from classic rock to big band sounds, their favorite music should be easy to find.
- Sing Old Songs
If they grew up going to church, sing old hymns with them. If it’s around the holidays, sing holiday carols or other special songs. Class sing-a-longs and music classes were much more common in schools prior to the electronic age. You might be surprised at what songs your loved ones know and remember from elementary school.
- Watch Old Movies and TV Shows
Did your parents grow up watching westerns like Gunsmoke or family dramas such as My Three Sons? Perhaps they were more interested in musicals like “The King and I” or “Singing in the Rain.” You can find many favorite movies and shows from the 40s, 50s and 60s on Netflix or other streaming services.”
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