A person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may be in a constant state of confusion or loss of confidence because of the short-term memory difficulties they face. They usually retain their long-term memories and life experiences a lot longer though. Research has shown reminiscing with elderly loved ones who are in this group can be very beneficial. They are even calling it reminiscence therapy.
Reminiscing and identity
Through reminiscing and helping the loved one review their life, their sense of identity and of self can be restored. This helps them to feel like a more balanced person and cheers them up. It’s very nice for them to reconnect with and relive their best memories.
Music as therapy
Music has been shown to have a profound positive effect on elderly loved ones who have lost the ability to communicate with words. Their memories of music from their younger days seem to remain intact for longer periods of time. Using music to reach out to them and connect with them is a very soothing and calming form of communication.
Different stages of dementia may require different strategies for communicating. Viewing photos from their life may be another way to cheer them up. You can even combine photos and music to appeal to more than one of their senses. You don’t want it to get too complicated though, so keep it simple. Introduce music and photos separately and then try combining them, with the music playing softly in the background.
Something to cuddle
Having a big soft stuffed animal to hold can also be calming to the elderly adult with Alzheimer’s. This can be a method of cheering them up and making them happy. Most people love the warmth and softness of hugging a big soft stuffed animal. They may even enjoy holding a doll, all wrapped up like a baby.
You may find unique ways of cheering up your elderly loved one that appeal to them as an individual. Maybe your father or grandfather was once a fisherman. Watching a video about fishing might be a way to cheer him up. Maybe your mother or grandmother loved to bake. Perhaps she could help you stir the big bowl of cookie dough or drop the dough onto cookie pans.
Cheering up with love and acceptance
Cheering up your elderly loved one really comes down to knowing them and giving them the love and acceptance and compassion they need at this difficult time in their life. When times get rough and you think they have changed or their personality has changed or you don’t recognize them anymore, try to remember they are still the same person. They are still the same inside but the disease gives them limitations. It limits what they can remember and it causes changes they can’t control.
As the Regional Developer of SYNERGY HomeCare in Connecticut for the past several years Kiley again puts the customer’s needs first. Working with the four five SYNERGY HomeCare Connecticut offices, Danbury, Bristol, Stamford, East Haven and Fairfield, which he owns with his wife of 34 years,Laurie, he has lead the SYNERGY CareTeam to tremendous growth and continued success. Knowing first hand how health, aging and memory care issues can take a toll on a family, he is a very hands-on owner. He makes his cell phone available to all clients and their families providing more than just care, Kiley provides solutions to his client’s care needs and peace of mind to their family.
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