Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 14th of February 2018.
Memories play an important role in the journey of a person living with dementia. They can be beneficial within dementia therapy and associated activities, and can help those caring for people with dementia understand their loved ones better; their likes and dislikes, as well as their history.
Memory and reminiscence are an incredibly powerful tool when engaging with a person who is living with dementia. Talking about their memories, or using tools to help spark memories, such as reminiscence books, can help a person living with the disease’s mood, as well as ensuring they feel listened to. Memories can also elicit powerful emotions, both good and bad, which are also an important part of dementia therapy.
Likes and Dislikes
Spending time listening to a person with dementia talk about their past allows you to have a greater understanding of not only what they enjoyed doing, but also what they didn’t like so much. This can help hugely when it comes to caring for them in the present, as it can inform activities that you undertake with them. For example, if they spend time telling you about their childhood trips to the seaside, you can make arrangements to take them for a daytrip to the seaside. Or if they tell you how much they used to enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles with their father, you can buy them some dementia-friendly puzzles for you to enjoy together.
Helping a person with dementia explore their memories will start to help you understand more of their background and upbringing, essentially you will start to gain a greater grasp of their history. This will help guide conversations, as you start to ask more details about their life. In turn, you will help engage the person living with dementia, making them feel valued and respected.