by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
- Reminisce! Everything you do together lends itself to reminiscing. If the person can still speak fairly well, say, “Tell me about…” If his vocabulary is more limited, you may have to facilitate the story. “Do you remember when…” As you bake cookies together you can talk about residents’ favorite cookies, meals, etc.
- Read aloud and use visual aids such as memory poems, family pictures, or stories about “the days gone by” stimulate reminiscences. Ideas include Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Yesterdays by NaDezan, and other short stories
- Make music. Sing, hum, whistle, dance. Singing brings oxygen to the brain to help you think more clearly. Dancing exercises other parts of the body. Both increase your own sense of well-being as well as the well-being of the residents! Have music activities and entertainers visit. Choose the residents’ favorite cassettes.
- Sensory stimulation activities could include the following:
Making lap quilts.
Tutoring, or visiting with children.
Happy hour with non-alcoholic drinks.
Ice cream party.
Brushing & fixing a resident’s hair.
Building with wood (include sanding).
Keeping the mind and body active are important for everyone, but especially your loved one with dementia. Do something that is enjoyable for both of you, and it makes it that much easier.